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Energetic particles detected by the Electron Reflectometer instrument on the Mars Global Surveyor, 1999–2006

Delory, Gregory T. and Luhmann, Janet G. and Brain, David and Lillis, Robert J. and Mitchell, David L. and Mewaldt, Richard A. and Falkenberg, Thea Vilstrup (2012) Energetic particles detected by the Electron Reflectometer instrument on the Mars Global Surveyor, 1999–2006. Space Weather, 10 . Art. No. S06003. ISSN 1542-7390. doi:10.1029/2012SW000781.

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We report the observation of galactic cosmic rays and solar energetic particles by the Electron Reflectometer instrument aboard the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft from May of 1999 to the mission conclusion in November 2006. Originally designed to detect low-energy electrons, the Electron Reflectometer also measured particles with energies >30 MeV that penetrated the aluminum housing of the instrument and were detected directly by microchannel plates in the instrument interior. Using a combination of theoretical and experimental results, we show how the Electron Reflectometer microchannel plates recorded high energy galactic cosmic rays with ∼45% efficiency. Comparisons of this data to galactic cosmic ray proton fluxes obtained from the Advanced Composition Explorer yield agreement to within 10% and reveal the expected solar cycle modulation as well as shorter timescale variations. Solar energetic particles were detected by the same mechanism as galactic cosmic rays; however, their flux levels are far more uncertain due to shielding effects and the energy-dependent response of the microchannel plates. Using the solar energetic particle data, we have developed a catalog of energetic particle events at Mars associated with solar flares and coronal mass ejections, which includes the identification of interplanetary shocks. MGS observations of energetic particles at varying geometries between the Earth and Mars that include shocks produced by halo, limb, and backsided events provide a unique data set for use by the heliophysics modeling community.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Luhmann, Janet G.0000-0003-0626-9353
Mewaldt, Richard A.0000-0003-2178-9111
Additional Information:© 2012 American Geophysical Union. Received 17 February 2012; accepted 25 April 2012; published 12 June 2012. This research was supported in part by the Mars Data Analysis Program, award NNG04GJ17G.
Group:Space Radiation Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:Mars; coronal mass ejections; solar energetic particles
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Other Numbering System NameOther Numbering System ID
Space Radiation Laboratory2012-16
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20120711-101729286
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Official Citation:Delory, G. T., J. G. Luhmann, D. Brain, R. J. Lillis, D. L. Mitchell, R. A. Mewaldt, and T. V. Falkenberg (2012), Energetic particles detected by the Electron Reflectometer instrument on the Mars Global Surveyor, 1999–2006, Space Weather, 10, S06003, doi:10.1029/2012SW000781.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:32349
Deposited On:11 Jul 2012 20:13
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 21:26

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