A Caltech Library Service

Solar-wind sputtering of the martian atmosphere

Haff, P. K. and Switkowski, Z. E. and Tombrello, T. A. (1978) Solar-wind sputtering of the martian atmosphere. Nature, 272 (5656). pp. 803-804. ISSN 0028-0836. doi:10.1038/272803a0.

Full text is not posted in this repository. Consult Related URLs below.

Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


In the sputtering process an incident particle beam loses part of its energy to recoil motion of target atoms, some of which may escape through a nearby surface. The sputtering yield, S, is defined as the number of atoms ejected per incident particle. In the Solar System, sputtering will occur whenever the solar wind, consisting mainly of 1 keV AMU hydrogen and helium ions, strikes a material body. Many years ago, Wehner et al. suggested that solar wind-induced sputtering of the lunar surface should be an important cause of erosion; recently, analyses of returned lunar material have been interpreted quantitatively in terms of such solar-wind sputtering. Mars provides another example of the interaction of the solar wind with a planetary body. However, in contrast to the lunar surface, the martian surface is largely protected from direct solar wind bombardment by its atmosphere. The primarily CO_2 atmosphere is thin by terrestrial standards but still opaque to the solar wind. We discuss here whether solar-wind sputtering of the martian atmosphere is a mechanism leading to significant mass loss.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Additional Information:© 1978 Macmillan Journals Ltd. Received 8 August 1977; accepted 21 February 1978. We thank Professors C. A. Barnes, D. S. Burnett, and Yuk Ling Yung for helpful discussions. This work was supported in part by the US NSF (grant no. PHY76-83685), NASA (grant no. NGR 05-002-333) and the Department of Energy (contract no. EY-76-C-02-3074).
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASANGR 05-002-333
Department of Energy (DOE)EY-76-C-02-3074
Issue or Number:5656
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150903-112542633
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Solar-wind sputtering of the martian atmosphere 803 P. K. HAFF, Z. E. SWITKOWSKI & T. A. TOMBRELLO doi:10.1038/272803a0
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:60047
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:03 Sep 2015 20:03
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 22:28

Repository Staff Only: item control page