MAVEN SWIA instrument lead Jasper Halekas on Iowa Public Radio

SWIA Science

The Solar Wind and its Interaction with Mars’ Ionosphere Illustration (not to scale) showing the ability of the upstream bow shock and the magnetic field induced in the ionosphere to push the solar wind around the planet. As a result, the solar wind should not hit the ionosphere directly or penetrate deeply into the upper atmosphere. MAVEN’s orbit early in the mission is shown schematically. (Image credit: NASA/GSFC)

The MAVEN Solar Wind Ion Analyzer (SWIA) is a part of the spacecraft’s Particles and Fields Package. SWIA measures the solar wind and magnetosheath proton flow around ‪#‎Mars‬ and constrains the nature of solar wind interactions with the upper atmosphere.

Jasper Halekas, Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Iowa, talks with Iowa Public Radio’s Ben Kieffer about the instrument and how it measures the constant stream of energy from the sun as it bombards Mars’ upper atmosphere.

To listen to the full interview, (Jasper’s segment covers about the first 15 minutes of the interview).

Learn more about the SWIA instrument.

Iowa Public Radio

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The SWIA instrument measures the solar wind and ion density and velocity in the magnetosheath of Mars. (Courtesy UCB/SSL – Greg Dalton)