The MAVEN Particles & Fields Package (PFP) team successfully completed instrument initial post-launch power on and checkout. The PFP consists of six separate and distinct instruments, all operated through a single data processing unit. This flight hardware was built by providers at the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Colorado at Boulder, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and the Research Institute in Astrophysics and Planetology (IRAP) in Toulouse, France. The entire package was integrated and delivered by the University of California at Berkeley. All instruments have been tested and are performing as expected.
The six instruments that comprise the PFP make detailed measurements of the properties of the Martian upper atmosphere, ionosphere, the input of solar energy into the upper atmosphere, the magnetic field, and ions that have enough energy to escape from the atmosphere to space. These measurements are central to understanding the loss of atmospheric gas to space that is occurring today and to determining what the history of loss through time has been.
As of January 22nd, 448 uplinks have been sent to the spacecraft since launch. MAVEN is 16.8 million kilometers (10.4 million miles) from Earth and 156.7 million kilometers (97.4 million miles) from Mars. Our second Trajectory Correction Maneuver (TCM-2) will occur on February 26th and will fine tune our approach path to Mars. The team also plans to activate the Electra telecommunications relay package in February.
Click on the image below to view an assortment of MAVEN PFP images.