The neutral particle detector (NPD) on board Mars Express has observed energetic neutral atoms (ENAs) from a broad region on the dayside of the martian upper atmosphere. We show one such example for which the observation was conducted at an altitude of 570 km, just above the induced magnetosphere boundary (IMB). The time of flight spectra of these ENAs show that they had energies of 0.2-2 keV/amu, with an average energy of ∼1.1 keV/amu. Both the spatial distribution and the energy of these ENAs are consistent with the backscattered ENAs, produced by an ENA albedo process. This is the first observation of backscattered ENAs from the martian upper atmosphere. The origin of these ENAs is considered to be the solar wind ENAs that are scattered back by collision processes in the martian upper atmosphere. The particle flux and energy flux of the backscattered ENAs are 0.9 - 1.3 × 107 cm-2 s-1 and ∼ 9.5 × 109 eV cm-2 s-1, respectively.
|Number of pages||7|
|Publication status||Published - Jun 2006|
- Solar wind