Mars’ plasma system. Scientific potential of coordinated multipoint missions: “The next generation”

Beatriz Sánchez-Cano*, Mark Lester, David J. Andrews, Hermann Opgenoorth, Robert Lillis, François Leblanc, Christopher M. Fowler, Xiaohua Fang, Oleg Vaisberg, Majd Mayyasi, Mika Holmberg, Jingnan Guo, Maria Hamrin, Christian Mazelle, Kerstin Peter, Martin Pätzold, Katerina Stergiopoulou, Charlotte Goetz, Vladimir Nikolaevich Ermakov, Sergei ShuvalovJames A. Wild, Pierre Louis Blelly, Michael Mendillo, Cesar Bertucci, Marco Cartacci, Roberto Orosei, Feng Chu, Andrew J. Kopf, Zachary Girazian, Michael T. Roman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


The objective of this White Paper, submitted to ESA’s Voyage 2050 call, is to get a more holistic knowledge of the dynamics of the Martian plasma system, from its surface up to the undisturbed solar wind outside of the induced magnetosphere. This can only be achieved with coordinated multi-point observations with high temporal resolution as they have the scientific potential to track the whole dynamics of the system (from small to large scales), and they constitute the next generation of the exploration of Mars analogous to what happened at Earth a few decades ago. This White Paper discusses the key science questions that are still open at Mars and how they could be addressed with coordinated multipoint missions. The main science questions are: (i) How does solar wind driving impact the dynamics of the magnetosphere and ionosphere? (ii) What is the structure and nature of the tail of Mars’ magnetosphere at all scales? (iii) How does the lower atmosphere couple to the upper atmosphere? (iv) Why should we have a permanent in-situ Space Weather monitor at Mars? Each science question is devoted to a specific plasma region, and includes several specific scientific objectives to study in the coming decades. In addition, two mission concepts are also proposed based on coordinated multi-point science from a constellation of orbiting and ground-based platforms, which focus on understanding and solving the current science gaps.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)641–676
Number of pages36
JournalExperimental Astronomy
Issue number2
Early online date13 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


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