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A kinetic model for Martian atmospheric entry plasma (MAEP) is presented. The model was calculated based on data from Viking, Pathfinder, and the Mars Exploration Rovers Opportunity and Spirit. Calculations of the density, temperature, and electron density across the shock front were made. We employed steady-state and nonsteady-state kinetic models to describe the rate of dissociation of CO2 in the Martian atmosphere as well as the production of O2. Water vapor was included in the models since it represents 0.03% of the surface atmospheric composition. With the addition of small amounts of water vapor, we found a decrease in the dissociation of CO2 in the Martian air as well as an increase in the production of O2. This paper is to report an analysis of MAEP and its interactions with the shock front which forms in the front of the Martian Landers.
Date of Publication: Aug. 2009