Mars ~ 2013-2016
The probe was selected on September 15, 2008. Its launch window is November 18 through December 7, 2013. It should enter Mars orbit 10 months after launch, in the fall of 2014. It has a planned nominal lifetime of 2 years.
The mission budget is $485 million (US dollars).
|Artist's rendering of the MAVEN spacecraft, courtesy of NASA.|
The probe is planned to enter Mars orbit in the fall of 2014 after 10 months en route. The nominal orbit is highly elliptical, with a periapsis of 150 km and apoapsis of 6242 km above the planet's surface. The orbit will be inclined to the planet's equator by 75°.
There are four primary science objectives:
- Determine the role that loss of volatiles from the Mars atmosphere to space has played through time.
- Determine the current state of the upper atmosphere, ionosphere, and interactions with the solar wind.
- Determine the current rates of escape of neutral elements and ions to space and the processes controlling them.
- Determine the ratios of stable isotopes in the martian atmosphere.
There are three packages of instruments that will fly on the MAVEN craft: Particles and Field Package (P&F), Remote Sensing Package (RS), and Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer (NGIMS).
The P&F Package has 6 different instruments:
- Solar Wind Electron Analyzer (SWEA): Measure the solar wind and ionospheric electrons.
- Solar Wind Ion Analyzer (SWIA): Measure solar wind and magnetosheath ion density and velocity.
- Suprathermal and Thermal Ion Composition (STATIC): Measure the thermal ions to moderate-energy escaping ions.
- Solar Energetic Particle (SEP): Determine the impact of SEPs on the upper atmosphere.
- Lagmuir Probe and Waves (LPW): Determine the ionospheric properties and wave heating of escaping ions and solar EUV input to the atmosphere.
- Magnetometer (MAG): Measure the interplanetary solar wind and ionospheric magnetic fields.
The instrument in the RS package is an Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrometer (IUVS), which will measure the global characteristics of the upper atmosphere and ionosphere.
The NGIMS will measure the composition and isotopes of thermal neutrals and ions.