Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Particles and Fields Package Integrated on Upcoming Mars-Bound Spacecraft

The six science instruments that comprise the Particles and Fields Package that will characterize the solar wind and ionosphere of Mars have been integrated aboard NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft. The spacecraft is on track for launch later this year.

The Solar Wind Electron Analyzer (SWEA) was the last of the six instruments to be delivered, and was integrated late last week at Lockheed Martin in Littleton, Colo. SWEA measures the properties of electrons at Mars, one electron at a time, and can process up to one million events per second.

NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft undergoes acoustics testing on Feb. 13, 2013 at Lockheed Martin Space Systems’ Reverberant Acoustic Laboratory. The environmental test simulates the maximum sound and vibration levels the spacecraft will experience during launch. MAVEN is the next mission to Mars and will be the first mission devoted to understanding the Martian upper atmosphere. Credit: Lockheed Martin

The other instruments in the package had been delivered earlier. In addition to the SWEA instrument, the package includes the Solar Wind Ion Analyzer (SWIA), Suprathermal and Thermal Ion Composition (STATIC), Solar Energetic Particle (SEP), Langmuir Probe and Waves (LPW), Magnetometer (MAG), and a data-processing unit.

"The Particles and Fields Package is designed to study the solar wind interaction with Mars and the structure and dynamics of Mars' ionosphere, including the influence of Mars' strongly magnetized crust," said David L. Mitchell, SWEA instrument lead and coordinator for the full package, from the University of California, Berkeley/Space Sciences Laboratory (SSL). "The package measures solar ultraviolet flux, solar wind properties, and energetic particles produced in solar storms to help us understand how the Sun influences the upper atmosphere and drives atmospheric escape."

The package was built by the University of California, Berkeley/Space Sciences Laboratory (SSL) with support from the University of Colorado Boulder/Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (CU/LASP) and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

"The final components of the science payload are coming together, so we’re getting closer to being ready for launch," said Bruce Jakosky, MAVEN principal investigator from CU/LASP. "I look forward to the exciting and diverse science results that the Particles and Fields Package instruments will provide.”

The MAVEN spacecraft will carry two other instrument suites. The Remote Sensing Package, built by CU/LASP, will determine global characteristics of the upper atmosphere and ionosphere. The Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer, provided by NASA Goddard, will measure the composition and isotopes of neutral ions.

“We’re in the home stretch now of completing the assembly and test of the spacecraft. With the full complement of Particles and Fields Package instruments now onboard the spacecraft, we are in a very good position for delivering the spacecraft to the launch site on schedule in August”, said David F. Mitchell, MAVEN project manager from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

MAVEN is scheduled for launch in November, 2013. It is the first spacecraft devoted to exploring and better understanding the Martian upper atmosphere. MAVEN will investigate the role that loss of Mars' atmosphere to space played in determining the history of water on the surface.

MAVEN’s principal investigator is based at the University of Colorado at Boulder's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. The university provides science instruments and leads science operations, and Education and Public Outreach. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center manages the project and provides two of the science instruments for the mission. Lockheed Martin of Littleton, Colo., built the spacecraft and is responsible for mission operations. The University of California at Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory provides science instruments for the mission. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., provides navigation support, the Deep Space Network, and the Electra telecommunications relay hardware and operations. Goddard Release: 13-014

Nancy Neal Jones
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

Nancy Neal Jones | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht A new kind of quantum bits in two dimensions
19.03.2018 | Vienna University of Technology

nachricht 'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region
16.03.2018 | American Institute of Physics

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: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

A new kind of quantum bits in two dimensions

19.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists have a new way to gauge the growth of nanowires

19.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>