Features, News, & Events
NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft performed a previously unscheduled maneuver this week to avoid a collision in the near future with Mars’ moon Phobos.
MAVEN has been orbiting Mars for just over two years, studying the Red Planet’s upper atmosphere, ionosphere and interactions with the sun and solar wind. On Tuesday the spacecraft carried out a rocket motor burn that boosted its velocity by 0.4 meters per second (less than 1 mile per hour). Although a small correction, it was enough that—projected to one week later when the collision would otherwise have occurred—MAVEN would miss the lumpy, crater-filled moon by about 2.5 minutes.
This is the first collision avoidance maneuver that the MAVEN spacecraft has performed at Mars to steer clear of Phobos. The orbits of both MAVEN and Phobos are known well enough that this timing difference ensures that they will not collide.(Read more»)
After investigating the upper atmosphere of the Red Planet for a full Martian year, MAVEN has determined that escaping water does not always go gently into space.
Sophisticated measurements made by a suite of instruments on the MAVEN spacecraft revealed the ups and downs of hydrogen escape—and therefore water loss. The escape rate peaked when Mars was at its closest point to the sun and dropped off when the planet was farthest from the sun. The rate of loss varied dramatically overall, with 10 times more hydrogen escaping at the maximum.(Read more»)
New global images of Mars from the MAVEN mission show the ultraviolet glow from the Martian atmosphere in unprecedented detail, revealing dynamic, previously invisible behavior. They include the first images of “nightglow” that can be used to show how winds circulate at high altitudes. Additionally, dayside ultraviolet imagery from the spacecraft shows how ozone amounts change over the seasons and how afternoon clouds form over giant Martian volcanoes. The images were taken by the MAVEN Imaging UltraViolet Spectrograph (IUVS).(Read more»)
Today, MAVEN completed one Mars year of science observations. One Mars year is just under two Earth years.
MAVEN launched on Nov. 18, 2013, and went into orbit around Mars on Sept. 21, 2014. During its time at Mars, MAVEN has answered many questions about the Red Planet.(Read more»)
A 3-D animation created by NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio using data from the MAVEN mission to Mars is the corporate winner of the inaugural Data Stories video contest sponsored by Science magazine for videos that tell stories about data. The video explains how the solar wind is driving particles from the upper atmosphere of Mars into space, which may have caused the planet to dry out and cool over the eons.(Read more»)