Observations at Venus Encounter by the Plasma Science Experiment on Mariner 10

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Science  29 Mar 1974:
Vol. 183, Issue 4131, pp. 1293-1296
DOI: 10.1126/science.183.4131.1293


Preliminary results from the rearward-looking electrostatic analyzer of the plasma science experiment during the Mariner 10 encounter with Venus are described. They show that the solar-wind interaction with the planet probably involves a bow shock rather than an extended exosphere, but that this is not a thin boundary at the point where it was crossed by Mariner 10. An observed reduction in the flux of electrons with energies greater than 100 electron volts is interpreted as evidence for somne direct interaction with the exosphere. Unusual intermittent features observed downstream of the planet indicate the presence of a comet-like tail hundreds of scale lengths in length.