Following a ten month, 442 million miles journey NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) successfully entered into orbit of Mars this evening. The orbit insertion maneuver began with six thruster engines firing briefly to damp out deviations in pointing. Then, the six main engines quickly ignite and burn for 33 minutes to slow the craft, allowing it to be captured in an elliptical orbit with a period of 35 hours.
MAVEN will now spend 6 weeks being commissioned before it begins it primary science mission.
The following instruments are being carried by MAVEN.
- Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer (NGIMS) – measures the composition and isotopes of thermal neutrals and ions.
- Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph (IUVS) – is a part of the Remote Sensing (RS) Package and measures global characteristics of the upper atmosphere and ionosphere via remote sensing.
- Magnetometer (MAG) – measures interplanetary solar wind and ionosphere magnetic fields
- Solar Wind Electron Analyzer (SWEA) – measures solar wind and ionosphere electrons
- SupraThermal And Thermal Ion Composition (STATIC) – measures thermal ions to moderate-energy escaping ions
- Langmuir Probe and Waves antenna (LPW) – determines ionosphere properties and wave heating of escaping ions and solar extreme ultraviolet (EUV) input to atmosphere
- Solar Energetic Particles (SEP) – determines the impact of SEPs on the upper atmosphere
- Solar Wind Ion Analyzer (SWIA) – measures solar wind and magnetosheath ion density and velocity