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.
Bruce Jakosky, MAVEN principal investigator at CU-Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics
MAVEN is about to carry out its first “deep-dip” campaign. This involves lowering the lowest altitude in the orbit from about 150 km above the surface to about 125 km. We do this so that we can measure the properties of that additional 25 km of the upper atmosphere between 150 and 125 km. It doesn’t seem like much, but this lets us go all the way down to the top of what we call the lower atmosphere, and it will let us make the connection then from the top of the upper atmosphere all the way down to the surface.
We’ll use three rocket-motor burns to lower the orbit, spread over three days. We do it gradually so that the spacecraft can “walk in” and we don’t get taken by surprise by anything along the way. Then we’ll stay in the “deep dip” orbit for five days, which covers about 20 orbits around the planet. Finally, we’ll use two maneuvers to “walk” back out and get back to our regular science mapping orbit.(Read more»)
David F. Mitchell, MAVEN Project Manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
MAVEN is now fully into its Science Phase at Mars and the scientists have been releasing exciting results, not the least of which were recent findings from the Comet Siding Spring encounter. The Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrometer was able to observe intense emissions from magnesium and iron ions in the atmosphere in the aftermath of the comet encounter. The Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer directly sampled and determined the composition of comet dust in Mars’ atmosphere, something that has never been done before. Our Solar Energetic Particle instrument observed significant solar activity both in the form of flares and coronal mass ejections from the Sun to Mars. We also generated a map of Mars’ ozone layer in the lower atmosphere. Finally, we’ve been able to provide a view of the escaping atmosphere of Mars showing the loss of atomic oxygen, atomic carbon, and atomic hydrogen.
Great science with much more to come!(Read more»)
As of Friday, November 28, the MAVEN science instruments have been turned back on following safe-mode recovery, and we have resumed collecting science data.(Read more»)
After ground testing and careful review over the last two days, MAVEN was successfully brought out of Safehold Mode this afternoon. The spacecraft is operating nominally in Earth-Point Mode with high-rate communications. All the instruments are safe and are currently off. The spacecraft will be monitored over the weekend to ensure a safe condition before the instruments are turned back on.(Read more»)
MAVEN went into safehold mode on Wednesday, Nov. 19. The spacecraft goes into this state autonomously, when it detects a problem with its operations, to ensure that it stays safe and in contact with Earth. Safehold was triggered by a timing conflict between commands. This is part of learning how to operate the spacecraft in a new environment, as this is the first time the spacecraft has been in its full science-operations scenario. The instruments have all been turned off and are safe, the spacecraft is healthy and in high-data-rate contact with Earth. The spacecraft operations team is currently developing the schedule to return MAVEN to science operations.(Read more»)