MAVEN is the first Mars mission managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC).
MAVEN's instrument suite will consist of eight sensors:
* 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
MAVEN will attempt to determine how the loss of volatile compounds—such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and water—from the Mars atmosphere to space has played through time.
Members of the MAVEN team pose in front of an Atlas V first stage that is being prepared for an upcoming launch. The rocket is 12.5 ft. in diameter and will stand almost 200 feet tall when fully stacked on the launch pad.
The Atlas V launch site, as viewed from the top of the Vertical Integration Facility. The four towers are lightning towers, intended to deflect lightning strikes away from the rocket when it’s on the pad. The launch takes place from adjacent to the pad equipment building, which is the ~10-m-diameter squarish structure in between the lightning towers. The launch tower that will stand next to the rocket is in the VIF as part of the support structure there. Once the rocket is fully assembled on the mobile launch pad, the pad is lifted up, carried out to the launch site, and set in place.
Set to launch in 2013, the mission will explore the Red Planet’s upper atmosphere, ionosphere and interactions with the sun and solar wind.
A graphic demonstrating some of the complex interactions that MAVEN will attempt to study.
The Red Planet
The University of Colorado will coordinate the science team and science operations and lead the education and public outreach activities.
MAVEN's Principal Investigator (PI), Bruce Jakosky, of the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP)
Solar flare (at the “10 o’clock” position on the Sun) observed on the Sun on 30 March 2010 by the Solar Dynamics Observatory. When energetic particles associated with the flare hit the Mars atmosphere, they can cause loss of atmospheric gas to space. Image courtesy of NASA.
The Aft deck of the MAVEN spacecraft will connect with the forward deck via the core cylinder. These three components will form the foundation for the attachment of all other components and instrumentation. (Courtesy Lockheed Martin)
MAVEN will use a Propellant Management Device (PMD), which is a static, all-metal structure inside the fuel tank that uses surface tension to ensure gas free liquid delivery to the tank outlet. (Courtesy Lockheed Martin)
The core structure of the MAVEN spacecraft under construction at Lockheed Martin in Denver, Colo. (Courtesy Lockheed Martin)
The MAVEN spacecraft structure is placed into a reaction chamber, where it completed a static loads test to ensure that it will withstand the extreme forces of launch. (Courtesy Lockheed Martin)
The MAVEN spacecraft core structure is lifted out of the reaction chamber after its static loads test. The structure provides the framework that supports all of the pieces that make up the MAVEN spacecraft. (Courtesy Lockheed Martin)
The MAVEN spacecraft core structure is successfully lowered and mated to the hydrazine propulsion tank and boat tail assembly at Lockheed Martin, Denver. (Courtesy Lockheed Martin)
MAVEN's body-mounted high-gain antenna is 2 m across and will rotate towards Earth for downlink twice per week. (Courtesy Lockheed Martin)
The MAVEN propellant tank was built by ATK Aerospace Group at its facility in Commerce, Calif. The primary structure in the background is cube shaped at 7.5 feet x 7.5 feet x 6.5 feet high. Built out of composite panels comprised of aluminum honeycomb sandwiched between graphite composite face sheets, the entire structure only weighs 275 pounds. MAVEN is scheduled to launch in November 2013 and will be the first mission devoted to understanding the Martian upper atmosphere. (Courtesy Lockheed Martin)
This photo shows the large hydrazine propellant tank prior to it being installed in the core structure of the MAVEN spacecraft at a Lockheed Martin clean room near Denver. The tank will hold 450 gallons of hydrazine propellant and is 6 feet 2 inches tall. (Courtesy Lockheed Martin)
MAVEN's helium pressurant tank will distribute helium and regulate pressurization of the main propulsion tank, which holds 3,615 lbs. of hydrazine fuel. (Courtesy Lockheed Martin)
The MAVEN high-gain antenna measures 6.5 feet (79 inches) in diameter by 3.3 feet (40 inches) tall. The reflector is made of Kevlar honeycomb core sandwiched between two composite face sheets. It is currently undergoing performance, pattern, and acoustic testing at Lockheed Martin’s facility in Newtown, Pa. (Courtesy Lockheed Martin)
For optimal performance, it’s important for the high-gain antenna to maintain a consistent temperature while the spacecraft experiences large temperature swings from being exposed to the Sun or in the eclipse behind Mars. To maintain a consistent temperature range, a radome blanket covers the large antenna. Similar to the blanketing material that covers the spacecraft, the radome is made from very thin, germanium-coated, black Kapton film. (Courtesy Lockheed Martin)
Dave Curtis, Particles and Fields Package (PFP) Manager at UC Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory, works to integrate the six instruments in the PFP with the PFP Data Processing Unit. The instruments will characterize the solar wind and the ionosphere of Mars.
The MAVEN spacecraft in Assembly, Test, and Launch Operations phase at Lockheed Martin. Here, the High Gain Antenna is visible after installation onto the main spacecraft bus. (Courtesy Lockheed Martin)
The MAVEN spacecraft recently completed assembly and has started environmental testing. In the Multipurpose Test Facility clean room at Lockheed Martin, technicians installed the orbiter’s two solar arrays prior to a modal test. (Courtesy Lockheed Martin)
The MAVEN spacecraft endured the rigorous vibration testing on Lockheed Martin's new three-axis shake table in March 2013. (Courtesy Lockheed Martin)
At the Lockheed Martin Space Systems facility near Denver, the MAVEN team lifted the one-of-a-kind spacecraft from its assembly stand into the reverberant acoustics chamber. Once in the chamber, with large door closed, the orbiter will undergo testing that simulates the maximum sound and vibration levels the spacecraft will experience during launch. (Courtesy Lockheed Martin)
The first two stages of the Atlas V-401 that will lift MAVEN off in November 2013 are nearly complete at United Launch Alliance's Decatur, AL facilities. (Courtesy ULA)
The MAVEN spacecraft undergoes final check-outs before it begins the environmental testing phase at Lockheed Martin. (Courtesy Lockheed Martin)
MAVEN undergoes acoustic testing at Lockheed Martin in Colorado. (Courtesy Lockheed Martin)
The winning art entry in the MAVEN Going to Mars Student Art contest as it was originally submitted (above) and how it will appear on the DVD that will accompany the spacecraft on its way to Mars this November. (Courtesy CU-LASP/MAVEN)
The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft is lowered into a thermal vacuum (TVAC) chamber at Lockheed Martin, near Denver, Colorado. TVAC testing ensures that the spacecraft is able to withstand the temperature extremes it will encounter during its mission to study the upper atmosphere of Mars. (Courtesy Lockheed Martin)
The MAVEN logo has been painted onto the 4 meter diameter payload fairing, designed by United Launch Alliance.
Engineers at Lockheed Martin Space Systems inspect the solar arrays on the MAVEN spacecraft after their deployment during recent testing procedures. (Courtesy Lockheed Martin)
The MAVEN spacecraft is shown here during Electromagnetic Interference/Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMI/EMC) testing. (Courtesy Lockheed Martin)
The tank was built by ATK Aerospace Group at its facility in Commerce, Calif.
MAVEN is scheduled to launch in November 2013 and will be the first mission devoted to understanding the Martian upper atmosphere. (Courtesy Lockheed Martin)
#MAVEN haiku selected for travel to Mars
#Haiku recognized in the MAVEN Message-to-Mars contest were announced today on the Going to Mars campaign website.
Thanks to everyone who participated and congratulations to all of those selected to Go to Mars with MAVEN! #GoToMars