December 02, 2014 News

MAVEN studies Martian atmosphere

‘Wet’ and ‘dry’: artist’s impression of Mars before it lost its atmosphere. See page 18

Swinging into Mars orbit on 22 September 2014, NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) mission commenced its study of the Martian atmosphere. It is seeking answers as to why Mars has lost its atmosphere and water vapour, focusing on the Martian upper atmosphere. Its elliptical orbiter sequence occurs. Within a 50-year plan, Roscosmos is interested in establishing a permanent manned lunar research base, with a site on the Moon’s South Pole being a stated objective and robotic craft exploring the lunar surface under direct cosmonaut control. orbit is unusual, with a widely swinging 6,200 km by 150 km aerocentric orbital parameter. Launched by an Atlas V rocket in 2013, it will carry out an initial one-year mission. Like the Indian MOM, NASA’s MRO and Odyssey Orbiter, MAVEN successfully survived a close pass by Comet Siding Spring in October 2014.

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