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  • 18 January, 2023

  • 5 Min Read

Solitary Wave in Martian Magnetosphere

Solitary Wave in Martian Magnetosphere

  • The Martian magnetosphere has been shown for the first time to exhibit discrete electric field variations or solitary waves, according to the department of science and technology.
  • The study of these waves is essential because wave-particle interactions directly regulate particle energization, plasma loss, transport, etc.
  • The identification of solitary waves was made possible by the utilization of high-resolution electric field data from NASA's MAVEN mission.

About the discovery:

  • Our planet is a massive magnet, and the magnetic field it generates shields us from the solar wind, which is the Sun's continual emission of high-speed charged particles.
  • Mars does not have an intrinsic magnetic field like Earth does. As a result, the high-speed solar wind can directly interact with the atmosphere of Mars.
  • It has been proposed that regular instances of solitary waves can be seen even in a weak and shallow magnetosphere like that of Mars.
  • But despite numerous expeditions to Mars, no one has ever before reported the existence of lone waves in the Martian magnetosphere.
  • The waves were primarily observed on Mars in the morning and evening at altitudes of 1000-3500 km, and it is still unclear what exactly caused them.
  • With the aid of high-resolution electric field data collected by the Langmuir Probe and Waves instrument on the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft of NASA, a research team from the Indian Institute of Geomagnetism (IIG), an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), has for the first time identified and reported the solitary waves in the Martian magnetosphere.
  • The direct interaction of solar winds with the Martian atmosphere resulted in the formation of the magnetosphere, which is feeble yet extremely active.
  • The team is investigating these waves' function in particle dynamics in the Martian magnetosphere and whether they have any bearing on the loss of atmospheric ions on Mars because it is known that they are responsible for the energization and transport of plasma in the Earth's magnetosphere.

How do Solitary Waves work?

  • The discrete electric field fluctuations known as solitary waves (bipolar or monopolar) follow consistent amplitude-phase relationships.
  • The propagation process has less of an impact on their size and shape.


  • It has been discovered that solitary waves have a substantial impact on the dynamics of a number of physical systems, including the magnetospheres of the Earth and Mars.
  • They are known to be in charge of energizing and transporting plasma particles in the magnetosphere of the Earth, which has an impact on how satellites and other space-borne equipment behave.
  • Their relevance in the Martian magnetosphere is still not fully understood, but it has been hypothesized that they might contribute to the loss of atmospheric ions on Mars.

About Mars:

  • Being larger than only Mercury, Mars is the second-smallest planet in the Solar System and is located four planets from the Sun.
  • It is often known to as the "Red Planet" because of the iron oxide on its surface, which gives it a reddish tint. It is named after the Roman god of war.
  • Mars is a terrestrial planet that resembles the Moon's impact craters, Earth's valleys, deserts, and polar ice caps as well as having a thin atmosphere.
  • Because of the similarity in rotational period and inclination of the rotation axis with respect to the ecliptic plane, the days and seasons on Mars are comparable to those on Earth.

Time on Mars:

  • On Mars, a day lasts for 24.6 hours. It hardly exceeds the length of a day on Earth.
  • On Mars, a year is equal to 687 days. One year on Mars is nearly twice as long as one on Earth.

Mars’ Neighbors:

  • Moons orbit Mars twice. Phobos and Deimos are their names.
  • The fourth planet from the Sun is Mars. Thus, Mars nearest neighbors are Earth and Jupiter.

About Mars Orbiter Mission:

  • The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), sometimes referred to as "Mangalyaan," was launched on November 5, 2013, and it successfully entered Martian orbit on September 24, 2014, on its first try.
  • MOM completes 4 years in its orbit on September 24, 2018, though the designed mission life of MOM was six months.
  • It was launched on the PSLV C25 rocket with the intention of examining the Martian surface and mineral composition as well as searching for methane in its atmosphere (an indicator of life on Mars).
  • Numerous accomplishments, including cost-effectiveness, rapid realisation, economical weight-budget, and the downsizing of five diverse science payloads, are attributed to MOM. Mars Colour Camera also captured images of Phobos and Deimos, two of Mars' moons.

Source: PIB

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