Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NASA'S Mars atmosphere mission given the green light to proceed to development

06.10.2010
NASA's mission to investigate the mystery of how Mars lost much of its atmosphere passed a critical milestone on October 4, 2010. NASA has given approval for the development and 2013 launch of the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission.

Clues on the Martian surface, such as features resembling dry riverbeds and minerals that only form in the presence of liquid water, suggest that Mars once had a denser atmosphere, which supported the presence of liquid water on the surface. As part of a dramatic climate change, most of the Martian atmosphere was lost. MAVEN will make definitive scientific measurements of present-day atmospheric loss that will offer insight into the Red Planet's history.

Michael Luther, on behalf of Dr. Ed Weiler, of the NASA Headquarters Science Mission Directorate led a confirmation review panel that approved the detailed plans, instrument suite, budget, and risk factor analysis for the spacecraft.

"A better understanding of the upper atmosphere and the role that escape to space has played is required to plug a major hole in our understanding of Mars. We're really excited about having the opportunity to address these fundamental science questions," said MAVEN Principal Investigator Dr. Bruce Jakosky of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado (CU-LASP) at Boulder.

"The team has successfully met every major milestone since selection two years ago," said MAVEN Project Manager David Mitchell of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. "Looking forward, we are well positioned for the next push to critical design review in July 2011. In three short years, we'll be heading to Mars!"

The confirmation review, formally known as "Key Decision Point C," authorized continuation of the project into the development phase and set its cost and schedule. The next major mission milestone, the critical design review, will examine the detailed MAVEN system design. After a successful critical design review, the project team will assemble the spacecraft and its instruments.

"This project is a vital complement to past, present, and future Mars missions," said Dr. Michael Meyer, lead Mars Scientist for NASA's Mars Exploration Program in Washington. "MAVEN will take us a step closer in learning about the evolution of our intriguing celestial neighbor."

NASA Goddard will manage the project, which will cost $438 million excluding the separately government-furnished launch vehicle and telecommunications relay package. Goddard will also build some of the instruments for the mission. In addition to the PI coming from CU-LASP, the university will provide science operations, build instruments, and lead Education/Public Outreach. Lockheed Martin of Littleton, Colo., will build the spacecraft based on designs from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and 2001 Mars Odyssey missions and perform mission operations. The University of California-Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory will also build instruments for the mission. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., will provide navigation support, the Deep Space Network, and the Electra telecommunications relay hardware and operations.

For more about MAVEN, refer to: www.nasa.gov/maven

For the related feature story, click here: www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/maven/news/confirmation.html

Nancy Neal-Jones | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nasa.gov
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/maven/news/confirmation.html

Further reports about: Goddard Space Flight Center MAVEN Mars Martian Winds NASA Space

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth
17.11.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Pluto's hydrocarbon haze keeps dwarf planet colder than expected
16.11.2017 | University of California - Santa Cruz

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>