Simulated solar wind plasma interaction with the Martian exosphere: influence of the solar EUV flux on the bow shock and the magnetic pile-up boundary
The solar wind plasma interaction with the Martian exosphere is investigated by means of 3-D multi-species hybrid simulations. The influence of the solar EUV flux on the bow shock and the magnetic pile-up boundary is examined by comparing two simulations describing the two extreme states of the solar cycle. The hybrid formalism allows a kinetic description of each ions species and a fluid description of electrons. The ionization processes (photoionization, electron impact and charge exchange) are included self-consistently in the model where the production rate is computed locally, separately for each ionization act and for each neutral species. The results of simulations are in a reasonable agreement with the observations made by Phobos 2 and Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft. The position of the bow shock and the magnetic pile-up boundary is weakly dependent of the solar EUV flux. The motional electric field creates strong asymmetries for the two plasma boundaries.