Features, News, & Events
Just weeks before the historic encounter of comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) with Mars in October 2014, NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft entered orbit around the Red Planet. To protect sensitive equipment aboard MAVEN from possible harm, some instruments were turned off during the flyby; the same was done for other Mars orbiters. But a few instruments, including MAVEN’s magnetometer, remained on, conducting observations from a front-row seat during the comet’s remarkably close flyby.
The one-of-a-kind opportunity gave scientists an intimate view of the havoc that the comet’s passing wreaked on the magnetic environment, or magnetosphere, around Mars. The effect was temporary but profound.(Read more»)
NASA scientists are closer to solving the mystery of how Mars’ moon Phobos formed.
In late November and early December 2015, NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission made a series of close approaches to the Martian moon Phobos, collecting data from within 300 miles (500 kilometers) of the moon.
Among the data returned were spectral images of Phobos in the ultraviolet. The images will allow MAVEN scientists to better assess the composition of this enigmatic object, whose origin is unknown.(Read more»)
The MAVEN mission has identified the process that appears to have played a key role in the transition of the Martian climate from an early, warm and wet environment that might have supported surface life to the cold, arid planet Mars is today.
MAVEN data have enabled researchers to determine the rate at which the Martian atmosphere currently is losing gas to space via stripping by the solar wind. The findings reveal that the erosion of Mars’ atmosphere increases significantly during solar storms. The scientific results from the mission appear in the Nov. 5 issues of the journals Science and Geophysical Research Letters.(Read more»)
NASA will provide details of key science findings from the agency’s ongoing exploration of Mars during a news briefing at 2 p.m. EST on Thursday, Nov. 5 in the James Webb Auditorium at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
The event will be broadcast live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.(Read more»)
NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft has been in orbit around Mars for one Earth year. MAVEN was launched to Mars on Nov. 18, 2013 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and successfully entered Mars’ orbit on Sept. 21, 2014.(Read more»)