THIS LECTURE HAS BEEN POSTPONED (date TBD).
LASP sent Ultraviolet Spectrometers to Mars aboard NASA’s Mariner 6, 7 and 9 spacecraft in the years 1969-1972, to study its atmosphere. They made maps of its surface pressure (showing that Olympus Mons was 75,000 feet high and that Valles Marineris was 20,000 feet deep). They mapped ozone in the lower atmosphere (showing its strong dependence on water vapor, and illustrating the crucial role of water in Mars’ atmospheric chemistry). They measured the temperature of Mars’ upper atmosphere and ionosphere, and also the rate at which hydrogen was escaping from Mars into space.
LASP is playing an even larger role in the MAVEN mission to Mars, which, if all has gone well, will be on its way at this moment. NASA chose a LASP scientist and CU professor to lead the mission, chose LASP to provide an Imaging UVS and elements of another instrument, and chose LASP to organize the commanding of the scientific instruments and to organize the scientific data from the spacecraft and distribute it to the science teams.
MAVEN will provide by far the most detailed picture yet of the response of Mars’ upper atmosphere and ionosphere to fluctuations in its energy sources – radiation from the Sun, the impact of the solar wind, and atmospheric waves driven upwards from the surface and lower atmosphere. LASP’s teams will reprise and greatly expand upon the Mariner data, and apply the benefits of over four decade’s worth of technological and scientific advances to their analysis.
Download the flyer below for additional details.