MAVEN Results Find Mars Behaving Like a Rock Star

Mars Rockstar

Computer simulation of the interaction of the solar wind with electrically charged particles (ions) in Mars’ upper atmosphere. The lines represent the paths of individual ions and the colors represent their energy, and show that the polar plume (red) contains the most-energetic ions. (Courtesy X. Fang, University of Colorado, and the MAVEN science team)

If planets had personalities, Mars would be a rock star according to recent preliminary results from the MAVEN spacecraft. ‪#‎Mars‬ sports a “Mohawk” of escaping atmospheric particles at its poles, “wears” a layer of metal particles high in its atmosphere, and lights up with aurora after being smacked by solar storms. MAVEN is also mapping out the escaping atmospheric particles. The early results are being discussed at a MAVEN-sponsored “new media” workshop held in Berkeley, California, on June 19-21. (‪#‎MAVENnm‬)