MAVEN Team Blog
The MAVEN team includes experts from many institutions and disciplines. The team blog is a forum for these individuals to share their personal experiences with the MAVEN community. From exploring the science of the mission, to the engineering behind the instrumentation, from the complex aspects of project management, to the access and use of data products, we hope you enjoy the opportunity to engage with the MAVEN team through these anecdotes.
Mission operators have successfully completed initial on-orbit power on and checkout of the MAVEN Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph (IUVS) and Remote Sensing Package.
All instrument sub-systems have been tested and are performing as expected. As part of this check out, the IUVS has taken two sets of images at various high voltage settings to get a baseline of on-orbit performance at the current instrument temperatures. IUVS took initial measurements of interplanetary hydrogen.
Plans are in place to turn on the IUVS again next week to look at what is left of Comet C/2012 S1 – ISON and then again a few more times during cruise before we get to Mars in September, 2014.
The MAVEN IUVS will measure global characteristics of the Martian upper atmosphere and ionosphere via remote sensing.(Read more»)
Initial activation of the Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer (NGIMS) occurred at approximately 10:18 a.m. EST this morning. Checkout began with the Main Electronics Box, and telemetry was as expected. Subsequently, the Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer (QMS) was initiated. QMS spectra were plotted and showed the expected levels of noble gases inside the QMS sensor.
Upon MAVEN’s arrival at Mars in September, 2014, the NGIMS instrument will study the planet’s fragile upper atmosphere, examining its composition and determining how quickly some of the gases are escaping into space over time. This information will help scientists understand the current state of the Martian upper atmosphere, how it looked billions of years ago, and how most of it has been lost.(Read more»)
On December 3, 2013, MAVEN mission controllers performed a successful trajectory correction maneuver, also known as a TCM. Post-maneuver data review shows that TCM-1 went according to plan. This maneuver removed the planetary protection bias. The planetary protection bias involves initially “aiming” to miss Mars, so that the launch vehicle upper stage (which is on a trajectory very similar to MAVEN’s) doesn’t accidentally hit the planet. The maneuver also enabled the team to check out the performance of the Mars Orbit Insertion thrusters and TCM thrusters. TCM-2 is scheduled for Feb. 26, 2014.
MAVEN is at a distance of 2.9 million miles from Earth. The current velocity is 74,025 mph as it moves around the Sun. MAVEN has already traveled nearly 26 million miles on its journey to Mars.(Read more»)
After a successful launch on Nov. 18, MAVEN operations are going smoothly with all spacecraft systems healthy. MAVEN uses 24-hour Deep Space Network communications coverage and all communication events have been nominal.
The mission is now in its early cruise mission phase and as of November 25, the spacecraft is approximately 1.39 million miles (2.24 million kilometers) from Earth. MAVEN’s current sun-centered speed is 73,497 mph. The next big milestone for the team is a planned trajectory correction maneuver on Dec. 3 followed by the power up of the eight science instrument between Dec. 4 and Dec. 10.(Read more»)
At 1:28 p.m. EST, the MAVEN spacecraft began its 10-month journey to Mars orbit, launching aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The Atlas V and the spacecraft have performed flawlessly in the early hours after launch. MAVEN’s “gull wing” solar arrays have deployed, sending power to the instruments onboard, and mission ground support personnel have confirmed the receipt of telemetry, indicating that communications with the spacecraft are proceeding as expected.(Read more»)