MAVEN spacecraft to be launched to see through the atmosphere of Mars

NASA is scheduled to launch later this month MAVEN spacecraft will carry eight kinds of instruments to study the Martian atmosphere in detail.

 

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Scheduled for launch later this month MAVEN spacecraft will carry eight kinds of instruments, study the details of the Martian atmosphere.

A long time ago, planetary scientists have believed that Mars was shrouded in a thick layer of the atmosphere, protecting the surface of the water which existed – such an environment to allow the emergence of life and reproduction. Today, scientists believe that Mars’s atmosphere is thin, its surface is a cold, barren desert. What is the point of view of scientists led a significant change it?

If all goes well, NASA (NASA) is scheduled for later this month will launch a spacecraft to answer this question. Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN, intended for specialists) spacecraft will pass through the outer edge of the Martian atmosphere, the use of eight kinds of instruments to measure and monitor the gas surrounding conditions. These measurements can help researchers understand the hundreds of millions of years of uninterrupted solar wind particles as well as with how the asteroid surface of Mars relative effect of chemical substances, which depleted water in the atmosphere and other gases.

The task of leading researchers, geologist at the University of Colorado, said Bruce Jakosky, MAVEN will eventually “Exploring Mars livability,” “If you try to know the possibility of life on Mars, you have to understand its climate history . ”

Until now, planetary scientists are still trying to answer questions about the life of the surface of Mars.In satellite remote mapping Martian terrain and minerals at the same time, NASA has been in the past 10 years sent to Mars to study the three detectors ancient sediments clues to the presence of water. University of California, Los Angeles geophysicist Chris Russell did not participate MAVEN team, he said, such a division is missing some important sources of information. “We entered an exploration rigid thinking – sooner or later we will reach the Martian surface, and do better next time.” Russell said, “We need to break this pattern, and MAVEN done.”

MAVEN will enter the thin upper atmosphere of Mars, and direct sampling. Before Mars satellite had flown 400 km above the surface of Mars to 257 kilometers, while the MAVEN will run along an elliptical orbit, the nearest location 150 kilometers away from the Martian soil, will reach its farthest outer ionization of the atmosphere . The aircraft will be carried out five times, “deep engagement”, to reach 125 km away from the Martian surface height, which makes it the instrument can collect from the ionosphere into the lower atmosphere has been the edge of the data.

MAVEN of six instruments will explore how the solar wind erosion at the top of the upper atmosphere of Mars – Mars’s atmosphere like the Earth’s atmosphere that is magnetically shielded. These instruments include a magnetometer, electromagnetic fields can be mapped Mars, Mars, scientists believe the electromagnetic field in the early history of Mars is very powerful, but now exists only in fragments in the magnetization of the crust of Mars. These magnetized pieces to protect the atmosphere from the solar wind attacks. Magnetometer measurements, together with another instrument on the solar wind observations will help researchers understand the atmosphere in which locations are most vulnerable to solar wind stripping.

Another instrument is the neutral gas and ion mass spectrometer (NGIMS), it will measure isotopes ratios, for example in the upper atmosphere of argon gas, to enable researchers to control the speed of the gas to escape into space. “In the upper atmosphere, the gas is no longer completely mixed, but due to quality differences separating the lighter gases heavier than the average position of the gas high.” NASA Goddard Space Flight Center researcher Paul Mahaffy said, “which makes it easier to escape Mars. ”

Mahaffy said, for example, measuring argon and argon -36 -38 how the ratio varies with altitude, you can reveal the different qualities of gas through the atmosphere more quickly, helping researchers to simulate the process of fleeing. By understanding these models and their changes over time sun combined with information, researchers can infer different periods of Mars density and composition of its atmosphere.

Researchers believe there are three processes lead to thinning of the Martian atmosphere. “One of the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and the formation of carbonate minerals in the crust.” Jakosky said. He pointed out that the detector surface of Mars made instrument spectral analysis will provide evidence to substantiate this view. “The third process is driven by the solar wind fled Space Only together all of these processes, we can understand what happened.” Jakosky said.

MAVEN will carry a haiku contains 1100 DVD, which is a research team from the haiku contest held last year obtained. Five winning entries in an writes: “Mars, you’re so mysterious, we are eager to know you.”

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