MAVEN Maneuvers Into Mars’s Orbit
At 10:24 p.m. EDT on Sunday, September 21, NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft began orbiting the Red Planet. After a 10-month trip, it has arrived just in time to catch a rare glimpse of a comet that will soon pass by Mars. “This is, at minimum, a once in a lifetime event but could be a once in a million year event,” says David Brain, a co-investigator on the MAVEN mission. He discusses how researchers are preparing for this comet close-up and what MAVEN might be able to uncover about the Martian atmosphere.
David Brain is co-investigator of the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission, and an assistant professor of astrophysical and planetary sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder in Boulder, Colorado.