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Daytona Beach


Physical Sciences

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How oxygens escape from Venus has long been a fundamental but controversial topic in the planetary research. Among various key mechanisms, the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability (KHI) has been suggested to play an important role in the oxygen ion escape from Venus. Limited by either scarce in-situ observations or simplified theoretical estimations, the mystery of oxygen ion escape process associated with KHI is still unsettled. Here we present the first three-dimensional configuration of KHI at Venus with a global multifluid magnetohydrodynamics model, showing a significantly fine structure and evolution of the KHI. KHI mainly occurred at the low latitude boundary layer if defining the interplanetary magnetic field-perpendicular plane as the equatorial plane, resulting in escaping oxygen ions through mixing with the solar wind at the Venusian boundary layer, with an escape rate around 4 × 1024 s−1. The results provide new insights into the basic physical process of atmospheric loss at other unmagnetized planet.

Publication Title

Geophysical Research Letters



Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.