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The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission (MAVEN) launched on November 18, 2013, and entered orbit around 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: Oct. 15, 2014

October 15

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

Commissioning activities have gone extremely well over the few weeks since MAVEN entered Mars orbit on September 21. Since then, we have successfully completed four engine burns to lower MAVEN’s orbit. MAVEN now orbits Mars every 4.6 hours with a periapsis (closest distance from the Mars surface) of 175 kilometers. All instruments are activated, and we are seeing data that represents exciting first science from the Mars upper atmosphere. On Oct. 14, 2014, the science team held a conference call with the media to discuss early results.

Over the past week we successfully completed five deployments of MAVEN instrument systems needed for six of the eight MAVEN instruments. The majority of the instruments had been stowed since prior to the November 2013 launch. With MAVEN now in Mars orbit, it was safe to fire the pyros that released appendages integral to various instruments and one protective sealing cap on the Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer (NGIMS). The spacecraft and all payloads are now configured for the science phase that we have been planning for over the past decade.

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