Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

NASA Selects 'MAVEN' Mission To Study Mars Atmosphere

Date:
September 16, 2008
Source:
NASA
Summary:
NASA has selected a Mars robotic mission that will provide information about the Red Planet's atmosphere, climate history and potential habitability in greater detail than ever before.

Artist's concept: Disappearance of the ancient magnetic field may have triggered the loss of the Martian atmosphere.
Credit: Image courtesy of NASA

NASA has selected a Mars robotic mission that will provide information about the Red Planet's atmosphere, climate history and potential habitability in greater detail than ever before.

Called the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft, the $485 million mission is scheduled for launch in late 2013. The selection was evaluated to have the best science value and lowest implementation risk from 20 mission investigation proposals submitted in response to a NASA Announcement of Opportunity in August 2006.

"This mission will provide the first direct measurements ever taken to address key scientific questions about Mars' evolution," said Doug McCuistion, director of the Mars Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

Mars once had a denser atmosphere that supported the presence of liquid water on the surface. As part of a dramatic climate change, most of the Martian atmosphere was lost. MAVEN will make definitive scientific measurements of present-day atmospheric loss that will offer clues about the planet's history.

"The loss of Mars' atmosphere has been an ongoing mystery," McCuistion said. "MAVEN will help us solve it."

The principal investigator for the mission is Bruce Jakosky of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The university will receive $6 million to fund mission planning and technology development during the next year. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., will manage the project. Lockheed Martin of Littleton, Colo., will build the spacecraft based on designs from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and 2001 Mars Odyssey missions. The team will begin mission design and implementation in the fall of 2009.

The 2001 Mars Odyssey, launched in April of that year, is determining the composition of the Red Planet's surface by searching for water and shallow buried ice. The spacecraft also is studying the planet's radiation environment.

After arriving at Mars in the fall of 2014, MAVEN will use its propulsion system to enter an elliptical orbit ranging 90 to 3,870 miles above the planet. The spacecraft's eight science instruments will take measurements during a full Earth year, which is roughly equivalent to half of a Martian year. MAVEN also will dip to an altitude 80 miles above the planet to sample Mars' entire upper atmosphere. During and after its primary science mission, the spacecraft may be used to provide communications relay support for robotic missions on the Martian surface.

"MAVEN will obtain critical measurements that the National Academy of Science listed as being of high priority in their 2003 decadal survey on planetary exploration," said Michael Meyer, the Mars chief scientist at NASA Headquarters. "This field of study also was highlighted in the 2005 NASA Roadmap for New Science of the Sun-Earth System Connection."

The Mars Scout Program is designed to send a series of small, low-cost, principal investigator-led missions to the Red Planet. The Phoenix Mars Lander was the first spacecraft selected. Phoenix landed on the icy northern polar region of Mars on May 25, 2008. The spacecraft completed its prime science mission on Aug. 25, 2008. The mission has been extended through Sept. 30.

NASA's Mars Exploration Program seeks to characterize and understand Mars as a dynamic system, including its present and past environment, climate cycles, geology and biological potential.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA. "NASA Selects 'MAVEN' Mission To Study Mars Atmosphere." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 September 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080915234615.htm>.
NASA. (2008, September 16). NASA Selects 'MAVEN' Mission To Study Mars Atmosphere. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080915234615.htm
NASA. "NASA Selects 'MAVEN' Mission To Study Mars Atmosphere." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080915234615.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The satellite is back under ground control after a tense few days, but with a gecko sex experiment on board, the media just couldn't help themselves. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Week @ NASA, July 25, 2014

This Week @ NASA, July 25, 2014

NASA (July 25, 2014) Apollo 11 celebration, Next Giant Leap anticipation, ISS astronauts appear in the House and more... Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space to Ground: Coming and Going

Space to Ground: Coming and Going

NASA (July 25, 2014) One station cargo ship leaves, another arrives, aquatic research and commercial spinoffs. Questions or comments? Use #spacetoground to talk to us. Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
How A Solar Flare Could Have Wrecked Earth's Electronics

How A Solar Flare Could Have Wrecked Earth's Electronics

Newsy (July 25, 2014) Researchers say if Earth had been a week earlier in its orbit around the sun, it would have taken a direct hit from a 2012 coronal mass ejection. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins