O++ is an interesting species in the ionospheres of both the Earth and Venus. Recent measurements made by the Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer (NGIMS) on board the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft provide the first firm detection of O++ in the Martian ionosphere. This study is devoted to an evaluation of the dominant O++ production and destruction channels in the dayside Martian ionosphere, by virtue of NGIMS data accumulated over a large number of MAVEN orbits. Our analysis reveals the dominant production channels to be double photoionization of O at low altitudes and photoionization of O+ at high altitudes, respectively, in response to the varying degree of O ionization. O++ destruction is shown to occur mainly via charge exchange with CO2 at low altitudes and with O at high altitudes. In the dayside median sense, an exact balance between O++ production and destruction is suggested by the data below 200 km. The apparent discrepancy from local photochemical equilibrium at higher altitudes is interpreted as a signature of strong O++ escape on Mars, characterized by an escape rate of 6×1022 s–1.
Electron pitch angle distributions similar to bidirectional electron conics (BECs) have been reported at Mars in previous studies based on analyses of Mars Global Surveyor measurements. BEC distribution, also termed “butterfly” distribution, presents a local minimum flux at 90° and a maximum flux before reaching the local loss cone. Previous studies have focused on 115 eV electrons that were produced mainly via solar wind electron impact ionization. Here using Solar Wind Electron Analyzer measurements made onboard the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution spacecraft, we identify 513 BEC events for 19–55 eV photoelectrons that were generated via photoionization only. Therefore, we are investigating electrons observed in regions well away from their source regions, to be distinguished from 115 eV electrons observed and produced in the same regions. We investigate the spatial distribution of the 19–55 eV BECs, revealing that they are more likely observed on the nightside as well as near strong crustal magnetic anomalies. We propose that the 19–55 eV photoelectron BECs are formed due to day-to-night transport and the magnetic mirror effect of photoelectrons moving along cross-terminator closed magnetic field lines.