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MAVEN Observations of Atmospheric Waves at Mars

February 18, 2016

  • Dr. Scott England
  • UC Berkely
  • Space@VT
  • 4:00 p.m.
  • Faculty Host: Dr. Black

Abstract: Internal waves play a key role in transporting energy and momentum between different regions of the atmosphere of Earth & Mars. The extremely large topography at Mars produces strong waves within its atmosphere, making it an ideal place to study these waves and their subsequent impacts.  Previous observations of the density of the upper atmosphere of Mars have revealed very large-amplitude density perturbations associated with these waves, which have been a challenge for spacecraft navigation and orbit prediction.  Simulations of these waves have also predicted that they have a profound impact on the thermal structure and circulation of the upper atmosphere, but these estimates lack observational constraints.  The MAVEN spacecraft carries both remote & in situ instrumentation that can measure these waves.  Results of new observations with MAVEN will be presented.  A 2-fluid approximation will be used to derive estimates of the intrinsic parameters of the waves observed.  Combining the remote & in situ observations, the impacts of these waves on atmospheric composition and heating rates are derived. These results are put in context of upcoming missions at Earth and Mars.

Bio: Scott England studied Physics with Space Science and Technology and completed his PhD in modeling of atmospheric waves at the University of Leicester in the UK.  He came to the University of California Berkeley to take a postdoc position and become a member of the IMAGE-FUV science team.  Since then, his research has focused on making use of new observations of atmospheric waves and their impacts in the upper atmosphere.  Scott is currently an Associate Research Physicist at the Space Sciences Laboratory at Berkeley, and a team member on the NASA MAVEN, GOLD and ICON missions.

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