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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)
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MAVEN completes 1,000 Orbits around Mars

MAVEN completed 1,000 orbits around the Red Planet on April 6, four-and-a-half months into its one-year primary mission.

MAVEN is in its science-mapping orbit and has been taking data since the start of its primary mission on Nov. 16, 2014. The furthest point (apoapsis) in the spacecraft’s elliptical orbit has been 6,500 kilometers (4,039 miles) and the closest (periapsis) 130 kilometers (81 miles) above the #Martian surface.

Read the full release, here:

+NASA +NASA Goddard +University of Colorado Boulder 
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MAVEN Detects Aurora and Mysterious Dust Cloud around Mars

The ‪#‎MAVEN‬ spacecraft has observed two unexpected phenomena in the ‪#‎Martian‬ atmosphere: an unexplained high-altitude dust cloud and aurora that reaches deep into the Martian atmosphere.

Read the full story, here:
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wow! that is Fascinating! I had no idea that is at all possible!
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New images of Phobos and Valles Marineris from the Mars Orbiter Mission

ISRO's Mars Orbiter Mission has posted a few new images to its newly designed website (

Highlights from the collection are images of Mars' moon, Phobos, silhouetted against the surface with a nice perspective on Mars' tenuous atmosphere, and a close-up of a portion of the gigantic Valles Marineris Canyon of ‪#‎Mars‬.
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MAVEN Completes First Deep Dip Campaign

The #MAVEN spacecraft has completed the first of five deep-dip maneuvers designed to gather measurements closer to the lower end of the ‪#‎Martian‬ upper atmosphere.

"During normal science mapping, we make measurements between an altitude of about 150 km and 6,200 km (93 miles and 3,853 miles) above the surface,” said Bruce Jakosky, MAVEN principal investigator at the University of Colorado Boulder's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (+LASP CUBoulder). “During the deep-dip campaigns, we lower the lowest altitude in the orbit, known as periapsis, to about 125 km (78 miles) which allows us to take measurements throughout the entire upper atmosphere.”

The 25 km (16 miles) altitude difference may not seem like much, but it allows scientists to make measurements down to the top of the lower atmosphere. At these lower altitudes, the atmospheric densities are more than ten times what they are at 150 km (93 miles).

Read the full release, here:
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MAVEN First Deep-Dip Campaign Underway

The ‪#‎MAVEN‬ spacecraft is now well within the targeted density corridor between 2.0 - 3.5 kg/km³ and is conducting initial deep-dip observations as planned.

Today (Feb. 13) is the first full day of the planned five days at the deep-dip altitudes. All systems are performing nominally and instruments are collecting data.

MAVEN is the first mission devoted to understanding the ‪#‎Martian‬ upper atmosphere. These deep-dip campaigns will provide measurements down to the top of the well-mixed lower Martian atmosphere, giving scientists a full profile of the top of the atmosphere.

These measurements will allow scientists to characterize the current state of the upper atmosphere and ionosphere of Mars, determine the rates of loss of gas to space today, and extrapolate backward in time in order to determine the total loss to space through time. With each new measurement, MAVEN brings us one step closer to understanding the mystery of Mars' climate history.
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Like the density corridor concept.
Thanks for sharing and teaching.
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Meteorite may represent ‘bulk background’ of Mars’ battered crust

New spectroscopic analysis of “Black Beauty,” a meteorite found in the Moroccan desert in 2011, has given scientists a better picture of the crust beneath Mars’ red dust.

The meteorite (NWA 7034) is like no other rock ever found on Earth. It’s been shown to be a 4.4 billion-year-old chunk of the #Martian crust, and according to a new analysis, rocks just like it may cover vast swaths of #Mars.

"Black Beauty" is a breccia, a mashup of different rock types welded together in a basaltic matrix. It contains sedimentary components that match the chemical makeup of rocks analyzed by the Mars rovers. Scientists concluded that it is a piece of Martian crust—the first such sample to make it to Earth.

Read the full +Brown University news release, here:
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Wonder if Earth rocks, with microbes landed on Mars.... 
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MAVEN Science Communication Workshop—June 19 - 21 in Berkeley, CA

Are you a science communicator who wants to learn more about early ‪#‎MAVEN‬ results and the evolution of the ‪#‎Martian‬ climate?

Then consider applying to attend the 2015 MAVEN New Media Practitioners Professional Development workshop at the University of California, Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory from June 19 - 21.

The 2015 workshop will offer a collaborative professional development opportunity for attendees to learn about current issues surrounding the evolution of the Martian climate. An emphasis will be placed on the latest data and discoveries returned from the MAVEN spacecraft, as told through lectures and interaction with MAVEN scientists and experts.

For additional details and to apply, please visit:
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Finding 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.

‪#‎MAVEN‬ is collecting data from Mars' upper atmosphere, which, for the first time ever, will reveal how these escape processes work today and have evolved over the history of the Red Planet.

Read the related +NASA feature, here:
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On October 23, 2014, Sandra Cauffman was invited to talk at the TEDx PuraVidaJoven at the National Auditorium in San Jose, Costa Rica, where she was born. Her story is how a Costa Rican girl from a poor family nurtured an improbable dream about space travel, and despite the obstacles, made that dream come true.

Sandra's determination and perseverance fueled her ability to achieve what many people thought she should not even consider.
Sandra is currently the GOES-R Deputy System Program Director at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. She previously served as Deputy Project Manager for ‪#‎MAVEN‬.

A four-time recipient of the NASA Acquisition Improvement Award, Sandra has been awarded the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal and the NASA Exceptional Leadership Medal. She is a Senior Fellow on the Council for Excellence in Government. Sandra received a B.S. in Physics, a B.S in Electrical Engineering and a M.S. in Electrical Engineering, all from George Mason University.

(Video credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center)
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MAVEN instruments all collecting data as expected during deep-dip

The initial MAVEN deep-dip campaign continues to go well, as the NASA ‪#‎Mars‬ orbiter maintains its targeted atmospheric density corridor between 2.0 - 3.5 kg/km³.

All of the MAVEN science instruments have been in "deep-dip" mode since a series of three successful walk-down maneuvers delivered the spacecraft into the target corridor.

All instruments are performing nominally and collecting data as expected.

For more information about the ‪#‎MAVEN‬ instrument suite, visit:


+NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
+NASA Goddard 
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MAVEN spacecraft entering first “deep-dip” of the mission

The initial walk-in maneuver of MAVEN's first"deep-dip" campaign has been successfully carried out, lowering the periapsis of the MAVEN spacecraft about 20 km to an altitude of about 134 km with a ∆V burn of 3.3 m/sec. The campaign will continue today with another periapsis-lowering maneuver, designed to insert the spacecraft into the deep-dip target density corridor between 2.0 - 3.5 kg/km³.

The targeted region of Mars' atmosphere, being explored for the very first time, is about 30 times more dense than the area explored by MAVEN during its primary science mapping operations, where the maximum atmospheric density is about 0.15 kg/km³.

Yesterday's successful maneuver is the first of three maneuvers that will “walk” the MAVEN spacecraft into the deep-dip density corridor.
Last week, mission operators successfully ran the full sequences for a “deep-dip demo,” which included everything except having the lower periapsis. The instruments were in their deep-dip modes and the spacecraft was in its deep-dip orientation for the test.

The first of five planned deep-dip campaigns includes a two-day “walk-down” into the target density corridor, which will be followed by five days with a periapsis in this corridor (~125 km), and then another two days of periapsis raising maneuvers to bring the spacecraft back into its nominal science mapping orbit.

For more information about MAVEN's science mapping orbit, visit:
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U.S.-India Joint Statement Includes Renewed Commitment to Space Cooperation

U.S. President Barack Obama visited yesterday with the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, as part of the President's three-day visit. The two assessed the extensive bilateral strategic and global partnership between their two countries and pledged to continue to enhance cooperation across the spectrum of human endeavor to better their citizens’ lives and that of the global community. 

The two leaders made a promise to translate their commitment of "Chalein Saath Saath”: “Forward Together We Go" of September into action through "Sanjha Prayaas; Sab Ka Vikaas": "Shared Effort; Progress For All".

The two also took note of ongoing U.S.-India space cooperation, including the first face-to-face meeting of the ISRO-NASA Mars Working Group from January 29-31 in Bangalore, in which the two sides will consider opportunities for enhanced cooperation in #Mars exploration, including potential coordinated observations and analysis between ISRO's Mars Orbiter Mission and MAVEN. Over a cup of tea, the Prime Minister and the President welcomed continued progress toward enhanced space cooperation via the U.S.-India Civil Space Joint Working Group, which will meet later this year in India.

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration and ISRO - Indian Space Research Organization have agreed to conduct the joint NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) mission (, which will study global environmental change on Earth.

To read the full White House Joint Statement, visit:
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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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Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN Mission