International Journal of Mars Research | ISSN 2453-8760 | Current Issue: 5 Volume 4


Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) is a space probe designed to study the Martian atmosphere while orbiting Mars.

The MAVEN Spacecraft

The MAVEN Spacecraft

Mission goals include determining how the Martian atmosphere and water, presumed to have once been substantial, were lost over time.

Operator: NASA

MAVEN was successfully launched aboard an Atlas V launch vehicle at the beginning of the first launch window on November 18, 2013. Following the first engine burn of the Centaur second stage, the vehicle coasted in low Earth orbit for 27 minutes before a second Centaur burn of five minutes to insert it into a heliocentric Mars transit orbit.

On September 21, 2014 at 10:24 EDT, MAVEN was inserted into an areocentric elliptic orbit upon reaching Mars 6,200 km (3,900 mi) by 150 km (93 mi) above the planet’s surface. The principal investigator for the spacecraft is Bruce Jakosky of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Particles and Field (P&F) Package

  • Built by the University of California, Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory.
  • Solar Wind Electron Analyzer (SWEA) – measures solar wind and ionosphere electrons
  • Solar Wind Ion Analyzer (SWIA) – measures solar wind and magnetosheath ion density and velocity
  • SupraThermal And Thermal Ion Composition (STATIC) – measures thermal ions to moderate-energy escaping ions
  • Solar Energetic Particle (SEP) – determines the impact of SEPs on the upper atmosphere
  • Langmuir Probe and Waves (LPW) – determines ionosphere properties and wave heating of escaping ions and solar extreme ultraviolet (EUV) input to atmosphere
  • Magnetometer (MAG) – measures interplanetary solar wind and ionosphere magnetic fields

Remote Sensing (RS) Package

  • Built by the University of Colorado Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics.
  • Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrometer (IUVS) – measures global characteristics of the upper atmosphere and ionosphere
Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer (NGIMS) Package
Built by Goddard Space Flight Center
  • Measures the composition and isotopes of neutral gases and ions

See also:

sources of information: NASA GSFC, NASA MAVEN Press Kit, LASP UC Boulder, YouTube