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The ionosphere of Mars is the ionized region of the atmosphere of the planet. It is affected by solar and galactic drivers from above, and neutral atmospheric variability from below. Throw in a unique crustal magnetic field environment and you have a region with dynamic variability that is not all that well understood to date.

Very few in situ measurements of plasma composition and temperatures were obtained by the Viking Landers over 30 years ago. These measurements motivated many modelers to try to explain them, not always successfully.

In a nutshell, there is alot we don't understand about the upper atmospheric region of Mars. This region is important to understand because it holds clues to escape of species and to atmospheric evolution. I use data and modeling to interprit ionospheric properties at Mars. So far, I have found that there are many more hydrogenated ions than expected, inexplicably large amounts of energy need to be delivered to the system to heat it to observed values, and that crustal field morphologies can explain many ionophseric anomalies.
The main ionospheric ions modeled between 80 and 400 km at Mars are shown for two extreme mixing ratios of molecular hydrogen at 80 km. The top side composition is highly sensitive to how much H2 is on the planet. Ions are summed to get electron density.