Artist's concept of MAVEN
|Major contractors||Lockheed Martin, University of Colorado at Boulder, Berkeley, Goddard|
|Launch date||Planned for November 18, 2013 to December 7, 2013 from Cape Canaveral, Florida|
|Launch vehicle||Atlas V 401|
|Mission duration||One Earth year|
|Orbital insertion date||2014|
|Mass||903 kg (1,990 lb)|
|Power||Solar photovoltaic (1215 W)|
|Apoapsis||6,200 km (3,900 mi)|
|Periapsis||150 km (93 mi)|
|Orbital period||4.5 hours|
Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) is a planned space exploration mission to send a space probe to orbit Mars and study its atmosphere. It will help determine what caused the Martian atmosphere —and water— to be lost to space, making the climate increasingly inhospitable for life.
Program overview 
The mission was spawned by NASA's Mars Scout Program, which although discontinued in 2010, yielded Phoenix and MAVEN, as well as numerous missions studies. Mars Scout missions target a cost less than USD$485 million, not including launch service, which is approximately $187 million.
On September 15, 2008 NASA announced that it had selected MAVEN to be the Mars Scout 2013 mission, a part of the Mars Scout Program. There was one other finalist and eight other proposals that were competing against MAVEN to be the Mars Scout 2013 mission.
NASA will launch MAVEN in late 2013 using an Atlas V 401 rocket. The launch window is between November 18, 2013 and December 7, 2013. Assuming a November 18 launch, MAVEN will be inserted on September 22, 2014 into an elliptic orbit 6,200 km (3,900 mi) by 150 km (93 mi) above the planet's surface. The principal investigator for MAVEN is Bruce Jakosky of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Features on Mars resembling dry riverbeds, and the discovery of minerals that form in the presence of water, indicate that Mars once had a thicker atmosphere and was warm enough for liquid water to flow on the surface. However, that thick atmosphere was somehow lost to space. Scientists suspect that, over millions of years, Mars lost 99% of its atmosphere as the planet’s core cooled and its magnetic field decayed, allowing solar winds to sweep away most of the water and volatile compounds the atmosphere once contained.
The goal of MAVEN is to determine the history of the loss of atmospheric gases to space through time, providing answers about Mars climate evolution. By measuring the current rate of escape to space and gathering enough information about the relevant processes, scientists will be able to infer how the planet's atmosphere evolved in time. MAVEN will have four primary scientific objectives:
- Determine the role that loss of volatiles to space from the Mars atmosphere has played through time.
- Determine the current state of the upper atmosphere, ionosphere, and interactions with the solar wind.
- Determine the current rates of escape of neutral gases and ions to space and the processes controlling them.
- Determine the ratios of stable isotopes in the Martian atmosphere.
MAVEN is expected to reach Mars in 2014. By then, the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite on board the Curiosity rover will have made similar surface measurements from Gale crater, which will help guide the interpretation of MAVEN's upper atmosphere measurements. MAVEN's measurements will also provide additional scientific context with which to test models for current methane formation in Mars.
Hardware overview 
MAVEN's design will be based on those of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Mars Odyssey spacecraft. Lockheed Martin Space Systems is building and testing the spacecraft. The orbiter has a cube shape of about 0.20 m3 (7.1 cu ft) with two solar arrays holding the magnetometers on both ends. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory will provide an Electra telecommunications relay package which has a data transfer rate of up to 10Mbps, but the highly elliptical orbit of the spacecraft will limit its usefulness as a relay for operating landers on the surface.
Scientific instruments 
MAVEN will study Mars' upper atmosphere and how it interacts with the Sun. It will carry instruments to measure characteristics of Mars' atmospheric gases, upper atmosphere, solar wind, and ionosphere. MAVEN will perform measurements from a highly elliptical orbit over a period of one Earth year, with five "deep dips" at 150 km (93 mi) minimum altitude to sample the upper atmosphere. The University of Colorado Boulder, University of California, Berkeley and Goddard Space Flight Center will each build a suite of instruments to fly on the spacecraft. The MAVEN spacecraft will carry three instrument suites, and they include:
- Particles and Field (P&F) Package
- Built by the University of California, Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory.
- Solar Wind Electron Analyzer (SWEA) - measures solar wind and ionospheric electrons
- Solar Wind Ion Analyzer (SWIA) - measures solar wind and magnetosheath ion density and velocity
- SupraThermal And Thermal Ion Composition (STATIC) - measures thermal ions to moderate-energy escaping ions
- Solar Energetic Particle (SEP) - determines the impact of SEPs on the upper atmosphere
- Langmuir Probe and Waves (LPW) - determines ionospheric properties and wave heating of escaping ions and solar extreme ultraviolet (EUV) input to atmosphere
- Magnetometer (MAG) - measures interplanetary solar wind and ionospheric magnetic fields
- Remote Sensing (RS) Package
- Built by the University of Colorado Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics.
- Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrometer (IUVS) - measures global characteristics of the upper atmosphere and ionosphere
- Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer (NGIMS) Package
- Built by Goddard Space Flight Center
- Measures the composition and isotopes of neutral gases and ions
See also 
- Atmosphere of Mars
- Exploration of Mars
- Indian Mars probe
- Mars Next Generation (a proposed orbiter)
- Mars Scout Program
- Mars Trace Gas Mission
- New Frontiers Program
- Space weather
- Trace Gas Orbiter
- Water on Mars
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: MAVEN|
- NASA Selects 'MAVEN' Mission to Study Mars Atmosphere
- New NASA Missions to Investigate How Mars Turned Hostile. By Bill Steigerwald (18 November 2012)
- NASA's Scout Program Discontinued.
- NASA Awards Launch Services Contract for Maven Mission (October 21, 2010)
- "Thumbs Up Given for 2013 NASA Mars Orbiter". NASA - JPL. October 05, 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
- "NASA Awards Launch Services Contract for MAVEN Mission". SpaceRef. Retrieved 2010-10-21.
- Maven's Haven: NASA's Next Mars Mission Preps for Launch
- MAVEN Mission to Investigate How Sun Steals Martian Atmosphere By Bill Steigerwald (5 October, 2010)
- "NASA exec checks on Lockheed Martin’s progress on Mars vehicles". Denver Business Journal. October 15, 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-16.
- MAVEN Fact Sheet
- "Mars Methane Questions Answered". Science channel. Retrieved 2009-11-14.
- "MAVEN: Answers About Mars Climate History". NASA. 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-25.
- "The Electra Proximity Link Payload for Mars Relay Telecommunications and Navigation". NASA. 2003-9-29. Retrieved 2013-1-11.
- CU chosen for $485M Mars exploration project
- Mission Timeline. University of Colorado, Boulder.
- "MAVEN - Instruments". University of Colorado Boulder. 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-25.
- NASA Goddard Delivers Magnetometers for NASA's Next Mission to Mars by Nancy Neal Jones (21 May, 2012)