Structure and composition of the neutral upper atmosphere of Mars from the MAVEN NGIMS investigation

P. R. Mahaffy, M. Benna, M. Elrod, R. V. Yelle, S. W. Bougher, S. W. Stone, B. M. Jakosky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations


The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer (NGIMS) provides sensitive detections of neutral gas and ambient ion composition. NGIMS measurements of nine atomic and molecular neutral species, and their variation with altitude, latitude, and solar zenith angle are reported over several months of operation of the MAVEN mission. Sampling NGIMS signals from multiple neutral species every several seconds reveals persistent and unexpectedly large amplitude density structures. The scale height temperatures are mapped over the course of the first few months of the mission from high down to midlatitudes. NGIMS measurements near the homopause of 40Ar/N2 ratios agree with those reported by the Sample Analysis at Mars investigation and allow the altitude of the homopause for the most abundant gases to be established.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8951-8957
Number of pages7
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 16 2015


  • Mars
  • atmospheric structure
  • neutral composition
  • scale height
  • temperature
  • upper atmosphere

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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