Magnetic Field and Plasma Observations at Mars: Initial Results of the Mars Global Surveyor Mission

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The magnetometer and electron reflectometer investigation (MAG/ER) on the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft has obtained magnetic field and plasma observations throughout the near-Mars environment, from beyond the influence of Mars to just above the surface (at an altitude of [approximate]100 kilometers). The solar wind interaction with Mars is in many ways similar to that at Venus and at an active comet, that is, primarily an ionospheric-atmospheric interaction. No significant planetary magnetic field of global scale has been detected to date (<2 x 1021 Gauss-cubic centimeter), but here the discovery of multiple magnetic anomalies of small spatial scale in the crust of Mars is reported.

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