Mars Bound MAVEN Probe Launches

Published on Nov 18, 2013

NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN), spacecraft launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket Monday, Nov. 18.

MAVEN, the first spacecraft devoted to exploring and understanding the Martian upper atmosphere, will take critical measurements to help scientists understand climate change over the Red Planet’s history and how the loss of Mars’ atmosphere to space determined the history of water on the surface.


MAVEN Rolls to the Launch Pad

Published on Nov 16, 2013

The MAVEN spacecraft, mounted atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, rolls out from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Vertical Integration Facility to the pad at Space Launch Complex 41.

MAVEN remains on track to launch on November 18th at 1:28 p.m. EST on its journey to Mars, where it will be the first mission devoted to understanding the upper atmosphere of the Red Planet.

(Video credit: NASA/KSC)


MAVEN Processing in Minutes

Published on Nov 15, 2013

NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft went through weeks of processing to ensure it was ready for a 10-month trip to the Red Planet. Watch as time-lapse video condenses that to mere minutes.

(Video credit: NASA/KSC)


MAVEN to Explore Upper Atmosphere of Mars

Published on Nov 14, 2013

MAVEN is a new NASA spacecraft embarking on a mission to study Mars’ upper atmosphere, seeking to learn how the atmosphere and environment changed over time.

Mars is a barren planet of extreme temperatures and the thinnest of atmospheres, and an environment too hostile to sustain even microbial life. But evidence from past missions to the Red Planet show evidence of an ancient, watery world. Now scientists seek to understand what could have caused such a dramatic change.

(Video credit: NASA’s Kennedy Space Center)


LeVar Burton Shares MAVEN’s Story in a New NASA PSA

Published on Nov 14, 2013

NASA is returning to Mars!

This NASA Public Service Announcement regarding the MAVEN mission is presented by LeVar Burton in which he shares the story about NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission—or MAVEN—and how it will explore Mars’ climate history and gather clues about the question scientists have been asking for decades. MAVEN will look at specific processes at Mars that led to the loss of much of its atmosphere…and MAVEN data could tell scientists a lot about the history of climate change on the Red Planet.

When MAVEN arrives at Mars in September 2014, it will join ongoing NASA missions—Odyssey, Opportunity, MRO, and Curiosity—that continue to improve our understanding of Mars and the evolution of our Solar System. NASA is committed to a program of Mars exploration—with the goal of sending humans in the 2030s. The data from these missions, and those to come later this decade, will inform future human exploration as well as provide textbook-changing science.

(Video credit: NASA)


MAVEN Prepared for Trip to Mars

Published on Nov 13, 2013

This NASA video traces the path of the MAVEN spacecraft, from Assembly, Test and Launch Operations (ATLO) at Lockheed Martin, through its trip to the Vertical Integration Facility (VIF) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Launch Complex 41, where MAVEN was mated to the United Launch Alliance Atlas V booster that is scheduled to lift the Mars orbiter to space on November 18, 2013.

(Video credit: NASA’s Kennedy Space Center)


MAVEN | Mars Evolution

Published on Nov 13, 2013

Billions of years ago when the Red Planet was young, it appears to have had a thick atmosphere that was warm enough to support oceans of liquid water—a critical ingredient for life.

This animation shows how the surface of Mars might have appeared during this ancient clement period, beginning with a flyover of a Martian lake. The artist’s concept is based on evidence that Mars was once very different. Rapidly moving clouds suggest the passage of time, and the shift from a warm and wet to a cold and dry climate is shown as the animation progresses. The lakes dry up, while the atmosphere gradually transitions from Earthlike blue skies to the dusty pink and tan hues seen on Mars today.

The MAVEN spacecraft surveys the barren landscape from high above in the Red Planet’s upper atmosphere to determine the role that escape to space may have played in the evolution of the Martian climate over these billions of years. MAVEN will be the first mission devoted to understanding this piece of Mars’ climate mystery.

Where did the once abundant water go?

(Video credit: NASA/GSFC)


Curiosity and MAVEN Explore Mars

Published on Nov 9, 2013

This animation first shows the Curiosity rover 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.

(Video credit: NASA/GSFC/JPL-Caltech)


ScienceCasts—MAVEN: What Happened to Mars? A Planetary Mystery

Published on Nov 8, 2013

Mars was once on track to become a thriving Earth-like planet, yet today it is an apparently lifeless wasteland. A NASA spacecraft named MAVEN will soon journey to Mars to find out what went wrong on the Red Planet.

Visit for breaking science news.

(Video credit: NASA)


MAVEN | NASA’s Next Mission to Mars

Published on Nov 8, 2013

Ancient riverbeds, crater lakes and flood channels all attest to Mars’ warm, watery past. So how did the Red Planet evolve from a once hospitable world into the cold, dry desert that we see today? One possibility is that Mars lost its early atmosphere, allowing its water to escape into space, and NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft will investigate just that.

On September 25, 2013, MAVEN Principal Investigator Bruce Jakosky delivered a presentation at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, discussing NASA’s next mission to Mars.

(Video credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center)


MAVEN | Mars Atmospheric Loss: Plasma Processes

Published on Nov 6, 2013

Mars’s thick early atmosphere was likely lost to space, and the Sun is a potential culprit. When high-energy solar photons strike the upper Martian atmosphere they can ionize gas molecules, causing the atmosphere to erode over time.

(Video credit: NASA/GSFC)


MAVEN in ATLO time-lapse

Published on Sep 11, 2013

The MAVEN spacecraft is shown in this time-lapse video during its Assembly, Test, and Launch Operations (ATLO) phase. MAVEN began ATLO procedures on Sept. 11, 2012 and was shipped to Kennedy Space Center’s Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility on Aug. 2, 2013 to begin preparations for its scheduled launch on Nov. 18, 2013.

Video credit: Lockheed Martin
Music credit: “Snippy” by 3prime


Moving MAVEN into Thermal Vacuum Chamber at Lockheed Martin

Published on Jul 29, 2013

On May 16, 2013, the MAVEN spacecraft was moved into a Thermal Vacuum Chamber (TVAC) at Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Littleton, Colorado. The spacecraft spent 19 days in TVAC, during which time it was exposed to temperatures similar to those it will experience during its launch, cruise, and mission at Mars. (Video credit: Lockheed Martin)



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