The Martian plasma system can be generalised as a series of plasma boundaries and regions arising from the interaction of the interplanetary solar environment with an intrinsic obstacle upstream of the planet.  

At Earth, this obstacle is called the magnetosphere, and results from the Earth’s strong global dipole magnetic field. At Mars, the absence of a global dipole results in the planet’s upper atmosphere and ionosphere interacting with the solar wind flow, forming an induced magnetosphere. Additionally, the extended Martian exosphere, and pockets of intense crustal magnetic fields add to the Martian obstacle, further complicating the interaction with the solar wind.

In this talk I describe how I used in excess of 10 years of plasma observations by the Mars Express mission to study spatial and temporal variations in the Martian plasma system that are driven by variations in the interplanetary solar environment.

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