MAVEN Preparing for Launch

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 8,384
    NASA is preparing to launch its MAVEN mission which will look at Mars upper atmosphere and magnetic fields in an attempt to understand why the Red Planet is losing its atmosphere.

    The US space agency’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission launches next week and will be trying to find why Mars is losing its atmosphere.   An instrument aboard the craft called the Solar Wind Electron Analyzer is designed to analyze patterns in electrons between Mars’ ionosphere and the solar wind, where most planetary material is being lost.  But MAVEN also is looking to understand the layout of magnetic fields around Mars.  Because Mars’ magnetic field is generated mostly by magnetized rock in its crust, the RedPlanet has many localized magnetic fields that rotate with the planet everyMartian day.  The reaction between these magnetic fields and the solarwinds allow for different ways for the charged particles to exit.  AndMAVEN will find out how that happens!