Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) is a mission of NASA's Mars Scout programme. Launched on November 18, 2013, the mission will explore the Red Planet's upper atmosphere, ionosphere and interactions with the sun and solar wind.
Mars once had a denser atmosphere that supported the presence of liquid water on the surface. As part of a dramatic climate change, most of the Martian atmosphere was lost. The Maven mission will explore the Red Planet's upper atmosphere, ionosphere and interactions with the sun and solar wind.
Scientists will use Maven data to determine the role that loss of volatile compounds—such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and water—from the Mars atmosphere to space has played through time, giving insight into the history of Mars' atmosphere and climate, liquid water, and planetary habitability.
This mission is under the responsibility of a general Principal Investigator, Bruce Jakosky (LASP, Boulder), and a Deputy-PI, Robert P. Lin (SSL, Univ. Berkeley).
The satellite carries eight scientific instruments:
- Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer (NGIMS), whose Instrument Lead is Paul Mahaffy, Goddard Space Flight Centre.
- Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrometer (IUVS), whose Instrument Lead is Nick Schneider, LASP.
- The instrument suite Particle and Field Package (PFP), whose Instrument Lead is Robert Lin, is composed of the following instruments:
- Magnetometer (MAG), whose Instrument Lead is Jack Connerney, Goddard Space Flight Centre.
- Solar Wind Electron Analyzer (SWEA), whose Instrument Lead is David Mitchell, SSL. It will be entirely provided by IRAP in Toulouse (Resp.: Christian Mazelle), apart from the digital part linked to the DPU (Digital Processing Unit).
- Solar Wind Ion Analyzer (SWIA), whose Instrument Lead is Jasper Halekas, SSL.
- Solar Energetic Particles (SEP), whose Instrument Lead is Davin Larson, SSL.
- SupraThermal And Thermal Ion Composition (STATIC), whose Instrument Lead is Jim McFadden, SSL.
- Langmuir Probe and Waves antenna (LPW),whose Instrument Lead is Bob Ergun, CU-LASP.
CNES ensures, for all national partners (laboratories), the prime contractorship for the French instrument contributions to Maven.