Traveling tot he red planet is the MAVEN probe short for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, will launch on Monday the 18th for a 10 month ride. The spacecraft’s mission is to study the Martian atmosphere to see if the clues are gleaned as to what happened to its atmosphere. Mars is believed to have had an atmosphere that kept it warm and that microbial life may have thrived there. No proof has emerged from on the ground exploration by other craft and rovers but the theory still holds.
It is believed that the Sun may have been the cause of ripping Mars’ atmosphere to shreds eons ago leaving it a dry wasteland incapable of supporting life as we know it. Water is there, minerals and many of the elements needed to support life but with no atmosphere radiation and space debris such as meteors and asteroids pummeled the planet into it’s nightmare appearance it has today. MAVEN will circumvent the planet taking in date meticulously thus gathering the clues to support the various theories NASA and the scientific community have about the barren world.
By studying what happened to Mars’ atmosphere it allows scientists to see if Earth’s atmosphere is in danger. Whether it was from solar flares or mass ejections or some other solar anomaly not yet discovered. It is vital that these tests be done so that we can prepare for such a disaster. Although we don’t have defenses against such solar events, the data gleaned from this mission may allow us to know if the atmosphere on Mars went rapidly or over a lengthy period of time. To do this, a sophisticated communications system is being employed by the craft. The SENSOR or Systems Engineering & Sustainment Integrator is one of them. As well as the SCNS or Sapace Communications Network Services and Spacelift Range System Contract aka SLRSC and DSN or Deep Space Network that handles operations that take place with craft used beyond the Moon.
All these systems are under the guidance of Exelis responsible for the successful landing and operation of the Curiosity rover. With these systems in place getting data of enormous proportions will be available and over the long term give more information on the atmospheric conditions past and present. MAVEN will join the other probes and rovers on the planet already and all will provide information of extreme importance. At present America now has a good amount of hardware on Mars and with MAVEN above Mars thus giving NASA a 24/7 feed of what’s going on on the red planet.