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NASA MAVEN Mission to Mars
Works at Mars' Upper Atmosphere
Attended University of Colorado - Boulder
Lives in an elliptical orbit around Mars (150 km x 6,200 km)
1,891 followers|601,758 views


50 Years of Mars Exploration

2015 marks 50 years of successful NASA missions to #Mars starting with Mariner 4 in 1965. Since then, a total of 15 robotic missions led by various NASA centers have laid the groundwork for future human missions to the Red Planet. The journey to Mars continues with additional robotic missions planned for 2016 and 2020, and human missions in the 2030s.

(Video credit: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory)


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MAVEN spacecraft status—Thursday, August 13, 2015

The ‪#‎MAVEN‬ navigation team successfully performed a period correction maneuver on Wednesday, August 12, which increased the orbital period of the spacecraft to 4 hours & 38 minutes. This maneuver was performed in order to keep the spacecraft within the required science corridor.

The maneuver was necessary because there is drag or an aerobraking effect exerted on the spacecraft during periapsis (lowest altitude), when MAVEN enters a more dense region of the ‪#‎Martian‬ atmosphere, which can reduce the orbital period. This effect is especially pronounced during the deep-dip campaigns, where the spacecraft flies through a density corridor that is twenty to thirty times that encountered during normal science operations.

As a result of the period correction maneuver, which had a ∆V (change in velocity) of 31 m/sec, the apoapsis (highest altitude) of the spacecraft is now 6,508 km from the surface of ‪#‎Mars‬ and the periapsis is 147.5 km.

The 4th deep dip campaign is on schedule and will begin with a walk-in maneuver on September 2nd.

(Image credit: NASA/GSFC)
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Curiosity Rover Marks Three Years Since Touching Down in Gale Crater

It's a summer of milestones for ‪#‎Mars‬ exploration! Fifty years ago, Mariner 4 became the first spacecraft to take close-up pictures of Mars. Thirty-nine years ago, the Viking 1 Lander became the first spacecraft to successfully land on the Red Planet. And now, NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover celebrates three years on Mars—operating well over 1,000 Martian days.

Since its arrival in August 2012, Curiosity has driven nearly 11 kilometers from its landing site to the foot of Mount Sharp within Gale Crater.

For more information, visit:

(Image credit: NASA/JPL)

+NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
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Principal Investigator, Bruce Jakosky—"MAVEN Early Results"

In this presentation from June 20, 2015, Dr. Bruce Jakosky, principal investigator for the MAVEN mission and Professor of Geological Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder, opened the second day of the 2015 MAVEN New Media Professional Development Workshop with a presentation and discussion about some of the early results from the first mission devoted entirely to investigating Mars' upper atmosphere.

View all of the videos from the workshop in one playlist, here:

(Video credit: Tom Mason/University of Colorado - LASP)
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MRO Detects Impact Glass on the Surface of Mars

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has detected deposits of glass within impact craters on Mars. Though formed in the searing heat of a violent impact, such deposits might provide a delicate window into the possibility of past life on the Red Planet.

Read the full NASA release:

(Image credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/JHUAPL/Univ. of Arizona)
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+Nick James 
Exactly!It is necessary to protect underground and that is not in the plans for future manned mission to Mars. I insist on using caves discovered on Mars, as a refuge. Use the caves saves a lot of money and astronauts will be safe.
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Fresh impact crater on Mars

This impact crater, captured by the HiRISE camera onboard NASA's #Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter appears to be a relatively recent one (on a geological time scale), as it has a sharp rim and well-preserved ejecta.

The steep inner slopes are carved by gullies and include possible recurring slope lineae (see: for details on RSL) on the equator-facing slopes. Fresh craters on ‪#‎Mars‬ often have steep, active slopes, so the HiRISE team is monitoring this crater for changes over time. The crater is a little more than 1-kilometer wide and contains diverse bedrock lithology,

To view the full image, visit:

(Image credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona)

+NASA +NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory +The University of Arizona 
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Very nice SIR 
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Mars' Ancient Ocean

For decades, planetary scientists have suspected that ancient ‪#‎Mars‬ was a much warmer, wetter environment than it is today, but estimates of just how much water Mars has lost since its formation vary widely. Now, new isotopic measurements by researchers at +NASA Goddard reveal that an ocean once covered approximately twenty percent of the ‪#‎Martian‬ surface.

This new picture of early Mars is considerably wetter than many previous estimates, raising the odds for the ancient habitability of the Red Planet.

(Video credit: NASA/GSFC)
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+Cristina Yapura Grassy-ass or gracias? 
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Henry Throop spent the last three years living in Pretoria, South Africa, teaching astronomy at the University of Pretoria. Near his house one day, he passed a group of artists from Zimbabwe working on a street corner. They had an elaborate display of African animals, all made out of wire and glass beads—lions, elephants, leopards, rhinos, hippos—all of the well-known animals, and a few less so.

On a whim, Henry showed one of the artists some pictures of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft (he’s worked on the New Horizons team since 2003). About a week later, the model was done, and it looked great, so he had a few more made for other New Horizons’ team members. Someone at NASA Headquarters saw one and suggested they make a #MAVEN model as well.

While some of the guys use plastic beads, the artist who made these spacecraft models uses only glass beads. Something the size of the MAVEN model probably takes two days to make the wire frame, and another two days to do the beading. All of it was done while sitting on a bucket on the sidewalk in Pretoria, where these men spend 9 to 10 hours-a-day sitting, talking, and beading through the sun and whatever else the African weather might bring.

Henry sent the model to MAVEN principal investigator, Bruce Jakosky, shown here with the final product. Moments like these are a reminder of how incredible and far-reaching space exploration really can be. From every corner of the vast universe to every street corner around our home planet, the creativity inspired by such endeavors has seemingly endless, rippling effects.

Henry is a Senior Scientist with the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona. He received a PhD in astrophysical & planetary sciences from the University of Colorado Boulder. He developed and taught a very popular astrobiology course in South Africa, where he just finished a two-year stay at the University of Pretoria. According to Henry, this was the first astrobiology course ever taught in all of Africa.
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This is wonderful because these men may become interested and, somehow, add to our understanding
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Dave Brain—"MAVEN Measurements of Drivers, Response, and Escape

In this presentation from June 20, 2015, Dr. David Brain, assistant professor of Astrophysical & Planetary Sciences at the +University of Colorado Boulder and MAVEN science team co-investigator, focuses on atmospheric escape processes at Mars during the second day of the 2015 ‪#‎MAVEN‬ New Media Professional Development Workshop.

The presentation and related discussion covered some of the early results from the nine instruments onboard the MAVEN spacecraft and the model predictions of what the early data indicate about Mars' atmospheric and climate evolution.

View all of the videos from the workshop in one playlist, here:

(Video credit: Tom Mason/University of Colorado - LASP)
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MAVEN Results Find Mars Behaving Like a Rock Star

If planets had personalities, Mars would be a rock star according to recent preliminary results from the MAVEN spacecraft. ‪#‎Mars‬ sports a “Mohawk” of escaping atmospheric particles at its poles, “wears” a layer of metal particles high in its atmosphere, and lights up with aurora after being smacked by solar storms. MAVEN is also mapping out the escaping atmospheric particles. The early results are being discussed at a MAVEN-sponsored “new media” workshop held in Berkeley, California, on June 19-21. (‪#‎MAVENnm‬)

Read the full story:
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Does it mean that the solar wind is booting efficiently what remains of the atmosphere of Mars?
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Mars Solar Conjunction

In June 2015, #Mars will swing almost directly behind the sun from Earth’s perspective, and this celestial geometry will lead to diminished communications with spacecraft at Mars.

The arrangement of the sun between Earth and Mars is called Mars solar conjunction. It occurs about every 26 months as the two planets travel in their sun-centered orbits. The sun disrupts radio communications between the planets during the conjunction period. To prevent spacecraft at Mars from receiving garbled commands that could be misinterpreted or even harmful, the operators of Mars orbiters and rovers temporarily stop sending any commands.

Read the full story:

(Video credit: NASA/JPL-CalTech)

+NASA +NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory +NASA Goddard 
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New study shows blue aurorae in Mars’ sky visible to the naked eye

For the first time, an international team of scientists from +NASA, the Institute of Planetology and Astrophysics of Grenoble (IPAG), the +European Space Agency, ESA and +Aalto University in Finland, have predicted that colorful, glowing aurorae can be seen by the naked eye on a terrestrial planet other than Earth—Mars.

Visible Martian aurorae seemed possible after the SPICAM imaging instrument on-board the ESA satellite Mars Express spotted aurorae from space in 2005. Those observations were confirmed in March 2015 by #MAVEN, which completed 1,000 orbits around the red planet on April 6, 2015.

Through laboratory experiments and a physical numerical model developed at NASA and IPAG, the study shows that, on ‪#‎Mars‬, aurorae also occur in the visible range. The most intense color is deep blue. As on Earth, green and red colors are also present. Several times during a solar cycle, after intense solar eruptions, these lights are bright enough to be seen with the naked eye.

Read the full story:

(Image credits: D. Bernard/IPAG—CNRS and NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS and CSW/DB)
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Mars upper atmosphere and ionosphere orbiter
Solving Mars' climate mystery. Where did the water and CO2 go?
  • Mars' Upper Atmosphere
    Orbiter, 2014 - present
    MAVEN is the first mission devoted to exploring Mars' upper atmosphere in an effort to help determine what happened to the once-dense atmosphere and surface water of the Red Planet and solve its climate mystery.
  • Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
    Spacecraft, 2014
    Atmospheric Orbiter
  • Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics
    Spacecraft, 2012
  • NASA - Goddard Space Flight Center, Lockheed Martin Space Systems, University of California at Berkeley, NASA - Jet Propulsion Laboratory
    Spacecraft, 2011
    Climate mystery investigator
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an elliptical orbit around Mars (150 km x 6,200 km)
NASA's Kennedy Space Center - Waterton Canyon, CO
The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) mission is the first mission devoted to understanding the Martian upper atmosphere. The goal of MAVEN is to determine the role that loss of atmospheric gas to space played in changing the Martian climate through time. Where did the atmosphere – and the water – go?
The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN Mission (MAVEN) launched on Nov. 18, 2013 and entered Mars orbit on Sept. 21, 2014 to begin exploring the planet’s upper atmosphere, ionosphere and interactions with the sun and solar wind.
Bragging rights
The second in NASA's Mars Scout missions, MAVEN will determine how much of the Martian atmosphere has been lost over time by measuring the current rate of escape to space and gathering enough information about the relevant processes to allow extrapolation backward in time.
  • University of Colorado - Boulder
    Astronomy and Aeronomy, 2011
  • University of California, Berkeley
    Space Physics, 2011
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November 18
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Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN Mission