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Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 1:20 EDT
Artists conception of MAVEN Mars orbiter
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Artist's conception of MAVEN Mars orbiter

December 11, 2012
The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) mission is part of NASA's Mars Scout program, funded by NASA Headquarters. Set to launch in 2013, the mission will explore the Red Planet’s upper atmosphere, ionosphere and interactions with the sun and solar wind. Scientists will use MAVEN data to determine the role that loss of volatile compounds—such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and water—from the Mars atmosphere to space has played through time, giving insight into the history of Mars' atmosphere and climate, liquid water, and planetary habitability. The principal investigator is Dr. Bruce Jakosky of the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (CU/LASP). MAVEN is the first Mars mission managed by the Goddard Space Flight Center. MAVEN's instrument suite will consist of eight sensors: -Magnetometer -Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer -Langmuir Probe and Waves -Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrometer -Solar Wind Electron Analyzer -Solar Wind Ion Analyzer -Solar Energetic Particles -SupraThermal And Thermal Ion Composition Partners: The University of Colorado will coordinate the science team and science operations and lead the education and public outreach activities. NASA Goddard will also provide mission systems engineering, mission design, and safety and mission assurance. Instruments on the spacecraft will be provided by the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Colorado, Boulder, and NASA Goddard, with the Centre d’Etude Spatiale des Rayonnements, Toulouse, France, providing the sensor for one instrument. Lockheed Martin Corp., based in Bethesda, Md., will develop the spacecraft, conduct assembly, test and launch operations, and provide mission operations at their Littleton, Colorado facility. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., will provide navigation support, the Deep Space Network, and Electra telecommunications relay package. Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center