University of Colorado at Boulder University of Colorado CU Home Search A to Z Index Map
Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics

Features, News, & Events

RSS Icon
2015
Shown here is a map of the MAVEN Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph's auroral detections in December 2014 overlaid on Mars’ surface. The map shows that the aurora was widespread in the northern hemisphere, not tied to any geographic location. The aurora was detected in all observations during a 5-day period, though no data were taken in the southern hemisphere and some regions in the northern hemisphere were missed. (Courtesy CU/LASP)

Auroras on Mars

May 14

One day, when humans go to Mars, they might find that, occasionally, the Red Planet has green skies.

In late Dec. 2014, the MAVEN spacecraft detected evidence of widespread auroras in Mars’s northern hemisphere. The “Christmas Lights,” as researchers called them, circled the globe and descended so close to the Martian equator that, if the lights had occurred on Earth, they would have been over places like Florida and Texas.

(Read more»)
Mars_traffic_thumb

Traffic Around Mars Gets Busy

May 5

NASA has beefed up a process of traffic monitoring, communication and maneuver planning to ensure that Mars orbiters do not approach each other too closely.

Last year’s addition of two new spacecraft orbiting Mars brought the census of active Mars orbiters to five, the most ever. MAVEN and India’s Mars Orbiter Mission joined the 2003 Mars Express from ESA (the European Space Agency) and two from NASA: the 2001 Mars Odyssey and the 2006 Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). The newly enhanced collision-avoidance process also tracks the approximate location of NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor, a 1997 orbiter that is no longer working.

It’s not just the total number that matters, but also the types of orbits missions use for achieving their science goals. MAVEN, which reached Mars on Sept. 21, 2014, studies the upper atmosphere. It flies an elongated orbit, sometimes farther from Mars than NASA’s other orbiters and sometimes closer to Mars, so it crosses altitudes occupied by those orbiters. For safety, NASA also monitors positions of ESA’s and India’s orbiters, which both fly elongated orbits.

(Read more»)
This is a depiction of MAVEN orbiting Mars.

MAVEN Completes 1,000 Orbits around Mars

April 8

MAVEN completed 1,000 orbits around the Red Planet on April 6, four-and-a-half months into its one-year primary mission.

MAVEN is in its science-mapping orbit and has been taking data since the start of its primary mission on Nov. 16, 2014. The furthest point in the spacecraft’s elliptical orbit has been 6,500 kilometers (4,039 miles) and the closest 130 kilometers (81 miles) above the Martian surface.

(Read more»)
Shown here is an artist’s conception of MAVEN’s Imaging UltraViolet Spectrograph (IUVS) observing the “Christmas Lights Aurora" on Mars. MAVEN observations show that aurora on Mars is similar to Earth’s "Northern Lights" but has a different origin. (Courtesy CU/LASP)

MAVEN Detects Aurora and Mysterious Dust Cloud around Mars

March 18

The MAVEN spacecraft has observed two unexpected phenomena in the Martian atmosphere: an unexplained high-altitude dust cloud and aurora that reaches deep into the Martian atmosphere.

The presence of the dust at orbital altitudes from about 93 miles (150 kilometers) to 190 miles (300 kilometers) above the surface was not predicted. Although the source and composition of the dust are unknown, there is no hazard to MAVEN and other spacecraft orbiting Mars.

(Read more»)
An artist's rendition shows the MAVEN spacecraft in orbit around Mars. (Courtesy NASA/GSFC)

MAVEN Completes First Deep Dip Campaign

February 19

NASA’S Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution has completed the first of five deep-dip maneuvers designed to gather measurements closer to the lower end of the Martian upper atmosphere.

“During normal science mapping, we make measurements between an altitude of about 150 km and 6,200 km (93 miles and 3,853 miles) above the surface,” said Bruce Jakosky, MAVEN principal investigator at the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics in Boulder. “During the deep-dip campaigns, we lower the lowest altitude in the orbit, known as periapsis, to about 125 km (78 miles) which allows us to take measurements throughout the entire upper atmosphere.”

The 25 km (16 miles) altitude difference may not seem like much, but it allows scientists to make measurements down to the top of the lower atmosphere. At these lower altitudes, the atmospheric densities are more than ten times what they are at 150 km (93 miles).

(Read more»)
2014

MAVEN Identifies Links in Chain Leading to Atmospheric Loss

December 15, 2014
(Read this post»)

MAVEN Completes Commissioning And Begins Its Primary Science Mission

November 17, 2014
(Read this post»)

Newest NASA Mars Orbiter Demonstrates Relay Prowess

November 10, 2014
(Read this post»)

Mars Spacecraft Reveal Comet Flyby Effects on Martian Atmosphere

November 7, 2014
(Read this post»)

NASA to Discuss Science Findings of Oct. 19 Comet Flyby of Mars

November 5, 2014
(Read this post»)

MAVEN Continues Mars Exploration Begun 50 Years Ago by Mariner 4

November 4, 2014
(Read this post»)

MAVEN Ultraviolet Image of Comet Siding Spring’s Hydrogen Coma

October 23, 2014
(Read this post»)

MAVEN Studies Passing Comet and Its Effects

October 20, 2014
(Read this post»)

NASA Reports MAVEN Mission’s First Look at Mars

October 14, 2014
(Read this post»)

NASA Shares What MAVEN Spacecraft Has Seen in its First Few Weeks at Mars

October 10, 2014
(Read this post»)

NASA Prepares its Science Fleet for Oct. 19 Mars Comet Encounter

October 9, 2014
(Read this post»)

MAVEN Spacecraft Returns First Mars Observations

September 24, 2014
(Read this post»)

Coronal Mass Ejections at Mars

September 23, 2014
(Read this post»)

MAVEN spacecraft enters orbit around Mars

September 22, 2014
(Read this post»)

MAVEN Spacecraft Ready for Sept. 21 Orbit Insertion

September 17, 2014
(Read this post»)

MAVEN makes final preparations for Mars

September 8, 2014
(Read this post»)

MAVEN Solar Wind Ion Analyzer Will Look at Key Player in Mars Atmosphere Loss

May 15, 2014
(Read this post»)

MAVEN on Track to Carry Out its Science Mission

February 4, 2014
(Read this post»)
2013

Goddard Planetary Instruments Score a Hat Trick

December 6, 2013
(Read this post»)

Mission Managers Hail Successful MAVEN Launch

November 19, 2013
(Read this post»)

NASA Launches MAVEN to Study Upper Atmosphere of Mars

November 19, 2013
(Read this post»)

Mission Manager a Modern Mr. Fix-it

November 16, 2013
(Read this post»)

LeVar Burton Shares MAVEN’s Story in a New NASA PSA

November 14, 2013
(Read this post»)

MAVEN Seeks to Solve Another Mars Riddle

November 14, 2013
(Read this post»)

NASA Video Illustrates MAVEN Mission’s Investigation of a Lost Mars

November 13, 2013
(Read this post»)

MAVEN Solar Wind Electron Analyzer Seeks Answers at Microscopic Levels

November 12, 2013
(Read this post»)

MAVEN Launch Day Coverage

November 9, 2013
(Read this post»)

What MAVEN Would See at Mars on Halloween

October 31, 2013
(Read this post»)

NASA Prepares to Launch First Mission to Explore Mars’ Upper Atmosphere

October 28, 2013
(Read this post»)

Communications Tests Go the Distance for MAVEN

September 20, 2013
(Read this post»)

MAVEN Paces Through Prelaunch Prep

September 6, 2013
(Read this post»)

MAVEN Eyes Mars as Launch Preparations Begin

August 9, 2013
(Read this post»)

MAVEN haiku selected for travel to Mars

August 8, 2013
(Read this post»)

NASA Begins Launch Preparations for Next Mars Mission

August 5, 2013
(Read this post»)

MAVEN Spectrometer Opens Window to Red Planet’s Past

July 18, 2013
(Read this post»)

Public voting opens on MAVEN haiku contest

July 15, 2013
(Read this post»)

MAVEN’s Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph May Help Paint Total Atmospheric Picture

June 17, 2013
(Read this post»)

MAVEN Student Art Contest Winner Announced

May 20, 2013
(Read this post»)

NASA Invites Public to Send Names And Messages to Mars

May 1, 2013
(Read this post»)

Final MAVEN Instrument Integrated to Spacecraft

April 3, 2013
(Read this post»)

Measuring Mars: The MAVEN Magnetometer

March 26, 2013
(Read this post»)

MAVEN invites the public to come aboard

March 15, 2013
(Read this post»)

PRESS RELEASE: MAVEN Particles and Fields Package Integrated

March 14, 2013
(Read this post»)

PRESS RELEASE: MAVEN Completes Assembly, Begins Environmental Testing

February 8, 2013
(Read this post»)
2012

MAVEN Science Community Workshop – Presentations

December 10, 2012
(Read this post»)

PRESS RELEASE: Instrument Delivered for NASA’s Upcoming Mars Mission

November 16, 2012
(Read this post»)

PRESS RELEASE: Next Mars Mission Enters Final Phase Before Launch

September 11, 2012
(Read this post»)

MAVEN Profiles: Carlos Gomez-Rosa

May 30, 2012
(Read this post»)

PRESS RELEASE: NASA Goddard Delivers MAVEN Magnetometers

May 21, 2012
(Read this post»)

MAVEN Profiles: Sandra Cauffman

April 26, 2012
(Read this post»)

PHOTO RELEASE: NASA’s MAVEN Spacecraft and Propellant Tank at Lockheed Martin

April 16, 2012
(Read this post»)

A stressful test

February 27, 2012
(Read this post»)
2011

MAVEN team members bring mission science to rural West Virginia students

December 12, 2011
(Read this post»)

New NASA Missions to Investigate How Mars Turned Hostile

November 18, 2011
(Read this post»)

PRESS RELEASE: MAVEN Mission Primary Structure Complete

September 26, 2011
(Read this post»)

PRESS RELEASE: LASP-led mission to Mars achieves major milestone

July 22, 2011
(Read this post»)
2010

PRESS RELEASE: NASA Awards Launch Services Contract for MAVEN Mission

October 21, 2010
(Read this post»)

PRESS RELEASE: NASA gives LASP-led Mars mission green light

October 5, 2010
(Read this post»)

MAVEN mission to investigate how sun steals Martian atmosphere

October 5, 2010
(Read this post»)
2008

NASA selects CU-Boulder to lead $485 million Mars mission

September 15, 2008
(Read this post»)

NASA selects MAVEN mission to study Mars atmosphere

September 15, 2008
(Read this post»)