Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution
Launch Date: November 18, 2013
Mission Project Home Page - http://www.nasa.gov/MAVEN
The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) mission was launched on November 18, 2013. It will arrive at Mars on September 21, 2014, to explore the planet’s upper atmosphere, ionosphere and interactions with the sun and solar wind. Scientists will use MAVEN data to determine the role that loss of volatile compounds—such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and water—from Mars' atmosphere to space has played through time, giving insight into the history of Mars' atmosphere and climate, liquid water, and planetary habitability. The MAVEN Principal Investigator is Dr. Bruce Jakosky of the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (CU/LASP), and the project is managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
MAVEN carries three instrument suites. The Particles and Fields Package, built by the University of California at Berkeley with support from CU/LASP and Goddard Space Flight Center, contains six instruments that will characterize the solar wind and the ionosphere of the planet. The Remote Sensing Package, built by CU/LASP, will determine global characteristics of the upper atmosphere and ionosphere. The Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer, provided by Goddard Space Flight Center, will measure the composition and isotopes of neutral ions. MAVEN also carries a government-furnished Electra UHF radio to provide back-up data relay capability for the rovers on Mars' surface. Lockheed Martin, based in Littleton, Colorado, built the MAVEN spacecraft and provides mission operations. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is providing navigation services, and CU/LASP conducts science operations and data distribution.