Influence of solar flares on Mars atmosphere proven
Researchers from Boston University have observed the effect of two solar flares - so-called flares - in the atmosphere of Mars. On both days afterwards, the electron density of the Martian ionosphere had increased by 50 to 200 percent due to solar wind and X-ray radiation.
Michael Mendillo of Boston University and his colleagues used data from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor from April 2001, the Goes satellite, which observes the Earth's atmosphere, and ground-penetrating radar stations. The Sun, Earth, and Mars were nearly aligned, so the solar storm of particles arrived on Earth just minutes earlier than on Mars. In this way, the researchers could be sure that the measured changes in the Martian atmosphere had really been triggered by the solar flare. Effects of a solar storm, such as a suddenly enlarged ionosphere, had not been observed there before.
The charged particles from a solar storm can damage satellites and disrupt power supplies, cell phone networks, radio and television transmissions on Earth. They also trigger the formation of auroras.