Published on Nov 8, 2013
This animation first shows Curiosity working to understand Mars as a past habitat, with a cut to MAVEN arriving at Mars to study the upper Martian atmosphere. Curiosity will not be able to “see” MAVEN on its arrival. Later in the mission, Curiosity may be able to view MAVEN when its orbit passes over Gale Crater at dusk, similar to viewing a low-earth-orbiting (LEO) satellite around Earth. As a precedent, Mars rover Spirit captured the Mars Odyssey orbiter as a bright point in the Martian sky. MAVEN is larger and flies lower, and Curiosity’s cameras are better, so this animation imagines a similar sighting. The animation ends with a celebration of MAVEN, which will help in understanding Mars’ climate history and uncovering when and how long Mars may have had an environment more favorable to microbial life than found today.