Sunday, September 28, 2014

MAVEN at Mars from the University of Colorado

I concluded Mars update for MAVEN's arrival with "stay tuned for more on MAVEN" later.  It's later, so here are the two top stories from tonight's Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (MAVEN at Mars) on Daily Kos.  Both of them are follow ups to the lead story from Space news from the University of Colorado.

NASA mission led by CU-Boulder achieves Martian orbit Sept. 21
September 21, 2014
The spacecraft for a NASA mission to probe the climate history of Mars led by the University of Colorado Boulder slid seamlessly into orbit at about 8:24 p.m. MDT on Sunday, Sept. 21, the last major hurdle of the 10-month, 442-million-mile journey.

The orbit insertion included the firing of several thruster engines to shed velocity from the spacecraft, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN, or MAVEN mission. The maneuver allowed the gravity of Mars to capture the MAVEN spacecraft into an elongated, 35-hour orbit. In the coming weeks MAVEN’s orbit will be reduced to an elliptical, 4.5-hour orbit in order to collect science data.

MAVEN will now begin a six-week commissioning phase that includes testing the instruments and science-mapping sequences. After that, MAVEN will begin its one-Earth-year primary mission, taking key measurements of Mars’ upper atmosphere.
CU-Boulder instrument onboard MAVEN sends back first images of Mars
September 24, 2014
NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft has obtained its first observations of the extended upper atmosphere surrounding Mars.

The Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph (IUVS) instrument obtained these false-color images eight hours after the successful completion of Mars orbit insertion by the spacecraft at 10:24 p.m. EDT Sunday, Sept. 21 after a 10-month journey.

The image shows the planet from an altitude of 36,500 kilometers, or 22,680 miles, in three ultraviolet wavelength bands.  Blue shows the ultraviolet light from the sun scattered from atomic hydrogen gas in an extended cloud that goes to thousands of kilometers above the planet’s surface.  Green shows a different wavelength of ultraviolet light that is primarily sunlight reflected off of atomic oxygen, showing the smaller oxygen cloud. Red shows ultraviolet sunlight reflected from the planet’s surface; the bright spot in the lower right is light reflected either from polar ice or clouds.
Here's to more from MAVEN.

No comments:

Post a Comment