Author Topic: NASA - MAVEN - updates  (Read 38565 times)

Online catdlr

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Re: NASA - MAVEN - updates
« Reply #60 on: 09/02/2015 07:45 PM »
NASA | Mapping Mars' Upper Atmosphere

Published on Sep 2, 2015
High above the thin Martian skies, NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft is carrying out a mission: determine how Mars lost its early atmosphere, and with it, its water. While previous Mars orbiters have peered down at the planet’s surface, MAVEN is spending part of its time gazing at the stars, looking for subtle changes in their color as they dip through the limb of Mars and set below the horizon. Such stellar occultations reveal what Mars’ atmosphere is made of, and how its composition varies with altitude. MAVEN’s observations are providing scientists with the most detailed picture of the Mars upper atmosphere to date, helping them understand how a once-hospitable world changed into the forbidding desert that we see today.


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Offline zubenelgenubi

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Re: NASA - MAVEN - updates
« Reply #61 on: 11/03/2015 10:37 PM »
Nov. 2, 2015
M15-158

NASA to Announce New Findings on Fate of Mars’ Atmosphere
(Science and Geophysical Research Letters embargoed details until 2 p.m. EST Nov. 5)

NASA will provide details of key science findings from the agency’s ongoing exploration of Mars during a news briefing at 2 p.m. EST on Thursday, Nov. 5 in the James Webb Auditorium at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

The event will be broadcast live on NASA Television and the agency's website.

The news conference participants will be:
•Michael Meyer, lead scientist for the Mars Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters
•Bruce Jakosky, Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) principal investigator at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) at the University of Colorado, Boulder
•Jasper Halekas, MAVEN Solar Wind Ion Analyzer instrument lead at the University of Iowa, Iowa City
•Yaxue Dong, MAVEN science team member at LASP
•Dave Brain, MAVEN co-investigator at LASP

A brief question-and-answer session will take place during the event with media on site and by phone. Members of the public also can ask questions during the briefing on social media using #AskNASA.

To participate in the briefing by phone, media must email their name, media affiliation and phone number to Laurie Cantillo at [email protected] by noon EST on Thursday.

For NASA TV downlink information and schedules, and to view the news briefing, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

For more information about NASA's journey to Mars:
https://www.nasa.gov/journeytomars

-end-
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Online catdlr

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Re: NASA - MAVEN - updates
« Reply #62 on: 11/05/2015 08:07 PM »
NASA Mission Reveals Speed of Solar Wind Stripping Martian Atmosphere

http://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-mission-reveals-speed-of-solar-wind-stripping-martian-atmosphere


MAVEN | Solar Wind Strips Martian Atmosphere

Published on Nov 5, 2015
In this visualization of MAVEN data, the solar wind strips ions from the Mars upper atmosphere into space.

(Video credit: NASA GSFC/CU Boulder LASP/University of Iowa)

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Online catdlr

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Re: NASA - MAVEN - updates
« Reply #63 on: 11/05/2015 08:11 PM »
MAVEN Mission Briefing: Solar Wind Strips Martian Atmosphere

Published on Nov 5, 2015
Highlights from a Nov, 5, 2015, NASA briefing on the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission's findings on the Martian atmosphere. MAVEN has identified the process that appears to have played a key role in the transition of the Martian climate from an early, warm and wet environment that might have supported surface life to the cold, arid planet Mars is today.

« Last Edit: 11/05/2015 08:11 PM by catdlr »
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Re: NASA - MAVEN - updates
« Reply #64 on: 11/05/2015 08:12 PM »
Measuring Mars' Atmospheric Loss

Published on Nov 5, 2015
A Nov. 5 NASA science update highlighted data from NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission that has determined the present rate at which Mars' atmosphere is losing gas to space, via stripping by the solar wind. This loss of gas to space appears to have played a key role in the transition of the Martian climate from an early, warm and wet environment that might have supported surface life to the cold, arid planet we see today.

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Offline John44

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Re: NASA - MAVEN - updates
« Reply #65 on: 11/05/2015 08:16 PM »

Offline redliox

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Re: NASA - MAVEN - updates
« Reply #66 on: 11/05/2015 10:38 PM »
This is definitely what we hoped MAVEN would find out. I'd say now InSight is the counterpart to find out what the Martian interior says. Between the two, we'll get a complete picture of ancient Mars.
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Online catdlr

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Re: NASA - MAVEN - updates
« Reply #67 on: 12/02/2016 02:47 AM »
bump....

The MAVEN Mission and Mars’ Auroras

NASA MAVEN Mission to Mars

Published on Dec 1, 2016
The NASA MAVEN mission has been studying Mars’ climate evolution since September 2014, particularly the loss of its atmosphere to space due to interactions with the sun and the solar wind. Among its discoveries, MAVEN has observed auroras in unexpected locations in the Martian atmosphere.

In this Nov. 30, 2016 webinar, Dr. Nick Schneider from the University of Colorado Boulder's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) and lead scientist for MAVEN’s Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph discusses MAVEN’s discoveries and the different types of auroras on Mars.

(this is an unlisted video)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uju9amwusc?t=001



« Last Edit: 12/02/2016 02:48 AM by catdlr »
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Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: NASA - MAVEN - updates
« Reply #68 on: 03/02/2017 07:24 PM »
NASA Orbiter Steers Clear of Mars Moon Phobos

Quote from: NASA
NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft performed a previously unscheduled maneuver this week to avoid a collision in the near future with Mars’ moon Phobos.
... On Tuesday the spacecraft carried out a rocket motor burn that boosted its velocity by 0.4 meters per second (less than 1 mile per hour). Although a small correction, it was enough that -- projected to one week later when the collision would otherwise have occurred -- MAVEN would miss the lumpy, crater-filled moon by about 2.5 minutes.

Oops.

Offline jacqmans

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Re: NASA - MAVEN - updates
« Reply #69 on: 03/31/2017 12:23 PM »
March 30, 2017
RELEASE 17-033

NASA's MAVEN Reveals Most of Mars' Atmosphere Was Lost to Space

Solar wind and radiation are responsible for stripping the Martian atmosphere, transforming Mars from a planet that could have supported life billions of years ago into a frigid desert world, according to new results from NASA's MAVEN spacecraft.

"We've determined that most of the gas ever present in the Mars atmosphere has been lost to space," said Bruce Jakosky, principal investigator for the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN), University of Colorado in Boulder. The team made this determination from the latest results, which reveal that about 65 percent of the argon that was ever in the atmosphere has been lost to space. Jakosky is lead author of a paper on this research to be published in Science on Friday, March 31.

In 2015, MAVEN team members previously announced results that showed atmospheric gas is being lost to space today and described how atmosphere is stripped away. The present analysis uses measurements of today’s atmosphere for the first estimate of how much gas was lost through time.

Liquid water, essential for life, is not stable on Mars' surface today because the atmosphere is too cold and thin to support it. However, evidence such as features resembling dry riverbeds and minerals that only form in the presence of liquid water indicates the ancient Martian climate was much different – warm enough for water to flow on the surface for extended periods.

“This discovery is a significant step toward unraveling the mystery of Mars' past environments,“ said Elsayed Talaat, MAVEN Program Scientist, at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “In a broader context, this information teaches us about the processes that can change a planet’s habitability over time.”

There are many ways a planet can lose some of its atmosphere. For example, chemical reactions can lock gas away in surface rocks, or an atmosphere can be eroded by radiation and a stellar wind from a planet's parent star. The new result reveals that solar wind and radiation were responsible for most of the atmospheric loss on Mars, and the depletion was enough to transform the Martian climate. The solar wind is a thin stream of electrically conducting gas constantly blowing out from the surface of the sun.

The early Sun had far more intense ultraviolet radiation and solar wind, so atmospheric loss by these processes was likely much greater in Mars' history. According to the team, these processes may have been the dominant ones controlling the planet's climate and habitability. It's possible microbial life could have existed at the surface early in Mars’ history. As the planet cooled off and dried up, any life could have been driven underground or forced into rare surface oases.

Jakosky and his team got the new result by measuring the atmospheric abundance of two different isotopes of argon gas. Isotopes are atoms of the same element with different masses. Since the lighter of the two isotopes escapes to space more readily, it will leave the gas remaining behind enriched in the heavier isotope. The team used the relative abundance of the two isotopes measured in the upper atmosphere and at the surface to estimate the fraction of the atmospheric gas that has been lost to space.

As a "noble gas" argon cannot react chemically, so it cannot be sequestered in rocks; the only process that can remove noble gases into space is a physical process called "sputtering" by the solar wind. In sputtering, ions picked up by the solar wind can impact Mars at high speeds and physically knock atmospheric gas into space. The team tracked argon because it can be removed only by sputtering. Once they determined the amount of argon lost by sputtering, they could use this information to determine the sputtering loss of other atoms and molecules, including carbon dioxide (CO2). 

CO2 is of interest because it is the major constituent of Mars' atmosphere and because it's an efficient greenhouse gas that can retain heat and warm the planet. "We determined that the majority of the planet's CO2 was also lost to space by sputtering," said Jakosky. "There are other processes that can remove CO2, so this gives the minimum amount of CO2 that's been lost to space."

The team made its estimate using data from the Martian upper atmosphere, which was collected by MAVEN's Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer (NGIMS). This analysis included measurements from the Martian surface made by NASA's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument on board the Curiosity rover.

"The combined measurements enable a better determination of how much Martian argon has been lost to space over billions of years," said Paul Mahaffy of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "Using measurements from both platforms points to the value of having multiple missions that make complementary measurements." Mahaffy, a co-author of the paper, is principal investigator on the SAM instrument and lead on the NGIMS instrument, both of which were developed at NASA Goddard.

The research was funded by the MAVEN mission. MAVEN's principal investigator is based at the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, Boulder, and NASA Goddard manages the MAVEN project. MSL/Curiosity is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.

For more information on MAVEN, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/maven

Offline clongton

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Re: NASA - MAVEN - updates
« Reply #70 on: 04/01/2017 07:27 PM »
Far be it from me to question the experts as they explain natural processes in the context of ancient and existing environments, but I have asked this question several times in several different places and to date no one has been capable of providing a satisfactory answer. So let me ask this again.

First both Venus and Mars have been shown to have a magnetic reconnection in their magnetotails so any statement that it protects Venus but does not protect Mars is without merit. With regard to solar wind stripping away a planet's atmosphere, I would point out that Mars is approximately 2-1/2 times further from the sun than Venus and the strength of the solar wind decreases with the square of the distance. Like Mars, Venus has no internally generated magnetic field to protect its atmosphere from the solar wind. Venus is ~67 million miles from the sun and Mars is ~142 million miles away, almost 2-1/2 times further away. So how is it that the diminished solar wind at Mars has stripped Mars of its atmosphere and yet has left Venus unscathed from the much stronger winds it endured?
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Offline Kaputnik

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Re: NASA - MAVEN - updates
« Reply #71 on: 04/01/2017 08:49 PM »
Much lower escape velocity on Mars?
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Re: NASA - MAVEN - updates
« Reply #72 on: 04/01/2017 09:07 PM »
Much lower escape velocity on Mars?

Sounds reasonable to me.

Surface gravity:

Venus:  8.87m/s^2
Mars:  3.71m/s^2

Escape velocity:

Venus:  10.36km/s
Mars:  5.03km/s

Pretty large differences.
« Last Edit: 04/01/2017 09:07 PM by Lee Jay »

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Re: NASA - MAVEN - updates
« Reply #73 on: 04/02/2017 06:08 PM »
Much lower escape velocity on Mars?

Sounds reasonable to me.

Surface gravity:

Venus:  8.87m/s^2
Mars:  3.71m/s^2

Escape velocity:

Venus:  10.36km/s
Mars:  5.03km/s

Pretty large differences.

Which is mostly mitigated by the vastly reduced force of the solar wind at 2-1/2 times the distance from the sun, which reduces by the square of the distance.

I am not asserting they are incorrect. What I am saying is that their reasoning doesn't make sense without explaining that very obvious caveat. Until it is explained I can accept that conclusion only as a possibility, not as conclusive.
« Last Edit: 04/02/2017 06:17 PM by clongton »
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Offline Phil Stooke

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Re: NASA - MAVEN - updates
« Reply #74 on: 04/02/2017 06:24 PM »
I am far from being an expert on this topic, so I have to rely on Wikipedia, like my students.  And the atmospheric escape page (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_escape#Comparison_of_non-thermal_loss_processes_based_on_planet_and_particle_mass)  includes this statement:

The dominant non-thermal loss process on Mars is from solar winds, as the atmosphere is not dense enough to shield itself from the winds during peak solar activity. Venus is somewhat shielded from solar winds because of its denser atmosphere and as a result, solar pick-up is not its dominant non-thermal loss process.

So it seems there are differences in the process between the two planets.  Perhaps the citations in that article will explain the situation more fully.

Offline a_langwich

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Re: NASA - MAVEN - updates
« Reply #75 on: 04/02/2017 06:34 PM »
Much lower escape velocity on Mars?

Sounds reasonable to me.

Surface gravity:

Venus:  8.87m/s^2
Mars:  3.71m/s^2

Escape velocity:

Venus:  10.36km/s
Mars:  5.03km/s

Pretty large differences.

Which is mostly mitigated by the vastly reduced force of the solar wind at 2-1/2 times the distance from the sun, which reduces by the square of the distance.

I am not asserting they are incorrect. What I am saying is that their reasoning doesn't make sense without explaining that very obvious caveat.

I'm not sure the "force" of the solar wind is a key driver.  How many particles per unit area are arriving isn't as important as the speed to which an individual particle can accelerate a piece of the atmosphere.  If 2 1/2 times, or four times, or twenty times, as many particles come in and collide, but the results of those increased number of collisions is still below escape velocity, the result is no loss of atmosphere. 

(This is put in a black and white fashion, when really we are speaking probabilistically with distribution profiles, but I think the logic is recognizable and extendable). 

Offline Dalhousie

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Re: NASA - MAVEN - updates
« Reply #76 on: 04/02/2017 10:31 PM »
This is definitely what we hoped MAVEN would find out. I'd say now InSight is the counterpart to find out what the Martian interior says. Between the two, we'll get a complete picture of ancient Mars.

Only the grossest of outlines.  We will never get a complete picture of ancient Mars, to even get a good picture will require detailed studies at many sites.
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Offline CuddlyRocket

Re: NASA - MAVEN - updates
« Reply #77 on: 04/03/2017 11:03 AM »
Much lower escape velocity on Mars?

Sounds reasonable to me.

Surface gravity:

Venus:  8.87m/s^2
Mars:  3.71m/s^2

Escape velocity:

Venus:  10.36km/s
Mars:  5.03km/s

Pretty large differences.

Which is mostly mitigated by the vastly reduced force of the solar wind at 2-1/2 times the distance from the sun, which reduces by the square of the distance.

I am not asserting they are incorrect. What I am saying is that their reasoning doesn't make sense without explaining that very obvious caveat.

I'm not sure the "force" of the solar wind is a key driver.  How many particles per unit area are arriving isn't as important as the speed to which an individual particle can accelerate a piece of the atmosphere.  If 2 1/2 times, or four times, or twenty times, as many particles come in and collide, but the results of those increased number of collisions is still below escape velocity, the result is no loss of atmosphere. 

(This is put in a black and white fashion, when really we are speaking probabilistically with distribution profiles, but I think the logic is recognizable and extendable). 

'The speed to which an individual particle can accelerate a piece of the atmosphere' depends on its momentum and energy and therefore on its mass and velocity. Mass is the same at Venus and Mars, but the velocity of the solar wind isn't. One would expect that the solar wind would slow as it climbs out of the Sun's gravity well, but in fact it accelerates (for reasons that seem poorly understood!). Unfortunately, I couldn't find any actual figures! :(

Offline Star One

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Re: NASA - MAVEN - updates
« Reply #78 on: 04/11/2017 08:39 PM »
NASA's MAVEN reveals Mars has metal in its atmosphere

Quote
Mars has electrically charged metal atoms (ions) high in its atmosphere, according to new results. The metal ions can reveal previously invisible activity in the mysterious electrically charged upper atmosphere (ionosphere) of Mars.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170410154724.htm

Offline Star One

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Re: NASA - MAVEN - updates
« Reply #79 on: 10/19/2017 08:21 PM »
NASA’s MAVEN Mission Finds Mars Has a Twisted Tail

Quote
Mars has an invisible magnetic “tail” that is twisted by interaction with the solar wind, according to new research using data from NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft.

NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN) spacecraft is in orbit around Mars gathering data on how the Red Planet lost much of its atmosphere and water, transforming from a world that could have supported life billions of years ago into a cold and inhospitable place today. The process that creates the twisted tail could also allow some of Mars’ already thin atmosphere to escape to space, according to the research team.

“We found that Mars’ magnetic tail, or magnetotail, is unique in the solar system,” said Gina DiBraccio of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “It’s not like the magnetotail found at Venus, a planet with no magnetic field of its own, nor is it like Earth’s, which is surrounded by its own internally generated magnetic field. Instead, it is a hybrid between the two.” DiBraccio is project scientist for MAVEN and is presenting this research at a press briefing Thursday, Oct. 19 at 12:15pm MDT during the 49th annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences in Provo, Utah.

The team found that a process called “magnetic reconnection” must have a big role in creating the Martian magnetotail because, if reconnection were occurring, it would put the twist in the tail.

“Our model predicted that magnetic reconnection will cause the Martian magnetotail to twist 45 degrees from what’s expected based on the direction of the magnetic field carried by the solar wind,” said DiBraccio. “When we compared those predictions to MAVEN data on the directions of the Martian and solar wind magnetic fields, they were in very good agreement.”

Mars lost its global magnetic field billions of years ago and now just has remnant “fossil” magnetic fields embedded in certain regions of its surface. According to the new work, Mars’ magnetotail is formed when magnetic fields carried by the solar wind join with the magnetic fields embedded in the Martian surface in a process called magnetic reconnection. The solar wind is a stream of electrically conducting gas continuously blowing from the Sun’s surface into space at about one million miles (1.6 million kilometers) per hour. It carries magnetic fields from the Sun with it. If the solar wind field happens to be oriented in the opposite direction to a field in the Martian surface, the two fields join together in magnetic reconnection.

The magnetic reconnection process also might propel some of Mars’ atmosphere into space. Mars’ upper atmosphere has electrically charged particles (ions). Ions respond to electric and magnetic forces and flow along magnetic field lines. Since the Martian magnetotail is formed by linking surface magnetic fields to solar wind fields, ions in the Martian upper atmosphere have a pathway to space if they flow down the magnetotail. Like a stretched rubber band suddenly snapping to a new shape, magnetic reconnection also releases energy, which could actively propel ions in the Martian atmosphere down the magnetotail into space.

Since Mars has a patchwork of surface magnetic fields, scientists had suspected that the Martian magnetotail would be a complex hybrid between that of a planet with no magnetic field at all and that found behind a planet with a global magnetic field. Extensive MAVEN data on the Martian magnetic field allowed the team to be the first to confirm this. MAVEN’s orbit continually changes its orientation with respect to the Sun, allowing measurements to be made covering all of the regions surrounding Mars and building up a map of the magnetotail and its interaction with the solar wind.

Magnetic fields are invisible but their direction and strength can be measured by the magnetometer instrument on MAVEN, which the team used to make the observations. They plan to examine data from other instruments on MAVEN to see if escaping particles map to the same regions where they see reconnected magnetic fields to confirm that reconnection is contributing to Martian atmospheric loss and determine how significant it is. They also will gather more magnetometer data over the next few years to see how the various surface magnetic fields affect the tail as Mars rotates. This rotation, coupled with an ever-changing solar wind magnetic field, creates an extremely dynamic Martian magnetotail. “Mars is really complicated but really interesting at the same time,” said DiBraccio.

The research was funded by the MAVEN mission. MAVEN began its primary science mission on November 2014, and is the first spacecraft dedicated to understanding Mars’ upper atmosphere. MAVEN’s principal investigator is based at the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, Boulder. The university provided two science instruments and leads science operations, as well as education and public outreach, for the mission. NASA Goddard manages the MAVEN project and provided two science instruments for the mission, including the magnetometer. Lockheed Martin built the spacecraft and is responsible for mission operations. The University of California at Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory also provided four science instruments for the mission. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, provides navigation and Deep Space Network support, as well as the Electra telecommunications relay hardware and operations.

https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/goddard/2017/mars-twisted-tail

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