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The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission (MAVEN) launched on November 18, 2013, and is on track to arrive at Mars on September 21, 2014. The mission’s goal is to explore the planet’s upper atmosphere, ionosphere, and interactions with the Sun and solar wind. Scientists will use MAVEN data to explore the loss of volatile compounds—such as CO2, N2, and H2O—from the Martian atmosphere to space. Understanding atmospheric loss will give scientists insight into the history of Mars' atmosphere and climate, liquid water, and planetary habitability.

MAVEN Team Blog

MAVEN Status Update: Mar. 27, 2014

March 27

The MAVEN spacecraft continues to perform well on its trip to Mars. The spacecraft is currently flying in “late cruise mode,” which positions the spacecraft with the fixed high gain antenna pointing directly at Earth as MAVEN gets farther from our home planet. The high gain antenna enables us to communicate with MAVEN at a high data rate between Mars and Earth.

During the month of March, the MAVEN team calibrated various spacecraft systems including the high gain antenna, star trackers, and the inertial measurement units in order to verify pointing accuracies.

On the instrument side, the team tested the Extreme UltraViolet (EUV) sensor by slewing the spacecraft in a cross-shaped scan maneuver while the EUV sensor stared at the Sun. Once at Mars, this sensor will measure the Extreme Ultraviolet light coming from the Sun and help us to better understand solar effects on Mars’ upper atmosphere. We also turned on the entire Particles & Fields package (six of the eight MAVEN instruments), now working together for the first time in space.

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