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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: Sept. 15, 2014

September 15

David F. Mitchell, MAVEN Project Manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Everything continues to go well with MAVEN as it is readied for arrival at Mars on Sunday, September 21st. All spacecraft systems are operating nominally. We had scheduled a final Trajectory Correction Maneuver (TCM-4) for September 12th. However, the maneuver was cancelled because the flight path did not warrant a correction. MAVEN is right on track.

In the next few days the Mars Orbit Insertion (MOI) sequence will commence on the spacecraft. Most commands will be performed autonomously (without the need for commanding from Earth). However, there are two ground command opportunities still available to alter the spacecraft’s flight path, if necessary, in order to raise altitude for its first pass at Mars. These altitude raise decisions will be made by the Project at approximately 24 hours and 6 hours prior to MOI, in close coordination with the Navigation team and the Navigation Advisory Group. Right now we don’t expect to need an additional maneuver because of how well the spacecraft is flying.

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