The flow characteristics of the light ions H(+) and He(+) have been studied in the midnight region of the ionosphere of Venus. Measurements of ion composition, electron and ion temperatures and magnetic fields by instruments onboard the Pioneer Venus Orbiter have been used in rite electron and ion equations of conservation of mass and momentum to derive the vertical flow velocities of H(+) and He(+). When average height profiles of the measured quantities were used, H(+) was found to flow upward, accelerating to speeds of almost 1 km/s at the ion-exobase. In a similar fashion, He(+) was found to flow downward into the neutral atmosphere where it is readily quenched by charge transfer reactions. The polarization electric field played an important role in forcing H(+) upward, but did not contribute enough to the He(+) force balance to produce upward flow. At the ion-exobase, the outward electric polarization force on H(+) was shown to be five times the gravitational force. Using an analogy with the terrestrial ion-exosphere, H(+) was inferred to flow upward into the ionotail of Venus and accelerate to escape speeds. A planet averaged escape flux of 1.4 x 10 exp 7/sq cm/s was calculated, which is comparable to hydrogen loss rates estimated by other investigators.
LUNAR AND PLANETARY EXPLORATION
Journal of Geophysical Research (ISSN 0148-0227); 98; E4; p. 7437-7445.