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Mars' External Magnetic Field as Seen from the Surface with InSight
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  • Anna Magdalena Mittelholz,
  • Catherine L. Johnson,
  • Matthew O. Fillingim,
  • Robert E. Grimm,
  • Steven Peter Joy,
  • Shea N. Thorne,
  • William Bruce Banerdt
Anna Magdalena Mittelholz
Harvard University

Corresponding Author:amittelholz@fas.harvard.edu

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Catherine L. Johnson
University of British Columbia
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Matthew O. Fillingim
University of California, Berkeley
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Robert E. Grimm
Southwest Research Institute
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Steven Peter Joy
University of California Los Angeles
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Shea N. Thorne
The University of British Columbia
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William Bruce Banerdt
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
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The magnetometer of the InSight mission operated on the martian surface from November 2018 until May 2022. Previously, satellites have provided information on the martian magnetic field environment from orbit, however, the degree to which external fields penetrate to and interact with the surface could not be studied prior to the InSight landing. Here, we present an overview of the complete surface magnetic field data from InSight sols 14 to 1241 that display different external magnetic field phenomena, transient and periodic. Periodic observations range from short period waves (100s-1000s of seconds), diurnal variations, ~26 sol Carrington rotations, to seasonal fluctuations. Transient events are observed in response to space weather and dust movement. We find that ionospheric variations are the dominant contribution as seen from the surface, while contributions from the undisturbed IMF are more subtle. We discuss limitations associated with a single point measurement and opportunities that future missions could enable. Including magnetometers on future missions at a variety of locations for long-duration continuous observations will be of great value in understanding a range of external field phenomena and will enable further investigations in different crustal magnetic field settings.