December 2, 2013
India’s First Mars Probe ‘MOM’ Blasts Free of Earth Joining MAVEN in Race to Red Planet
India’s first ever Mars probe ‘MOM’ successfully fired its main engine today (Dec. 1), blasting the craft free of the Earth’s sphere of influence forever to begin her nearly yearlong momentous voyage to the Red Planet.
Indian space engineers initiated the 440 Newton liquid fueled engine firing precisely as planned at 00:49 hrs (IST) on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013 during a critical nail-biting burn lasting some 22 minutes.
The Trans Mars Insertion (TMI) firing propelled India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) away from Earth forever and placed the spacecraft on course for a rendezvous with the Red Planet on September 24, 2014 – where it will study the atmosphere and sniff for signals of methane.
Sunday’s Mars insertion burn imparted the vehicle with an incremental velocity of 647.96 meters per second (m/sec) consuming 198 kg of fuel.
November 18, 2013
NASA Launching New Mission to Mars Today: How to Watch Live
A NASA probe is scheduled to launch to Mars today (Nov. 18), and you can watch it live online.
The space agency's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution spacecraft (MAVEN) is scheduled to launch atop its Atlas 5 rocket at 1:28 p.m. EST (1828 GMT) from here at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. You can watch the launch live on SPACE.com via NASA TV, beginning at 11 a.m. EST (1600 GMT).
The $671 million MAVEN will investigate the atmosphere of Mars in order to understand what could have happened to the planet in the past. Scientists think that ancient Mars had a thick atmosphere that supported liquid water, however, at some point in the planet's past, that changed and Mars morphed into the cold desert it is now. Mars' atmosphere is now about 1 percent as thick as that of Earth's.
November 14, 2013
LeVar Burton Video Is the Best Explanation of a Mars Mission Yet
November 7, 2013
MAVEN's mysteries: An inside look at NASA's next Mars mission
NASA's MAVEN orbiter is designed to follow up on a huge question surrounding past findings about Mars: If the Red Planet was once far more hospitable to life, what happened?
"What I'm most looking for is clarity," the University of Colorado's Dave Brain, a co-investigator for the $670 million mission, told NBC News. "We're very certain that Mars has undergone some big change over the last several billion years."
Part of that big change had to do with Mars' atmosphere: Past studies have suggested that the carbon dioxide atmosphere was once thicker and more Earthlike, which would have kept the planet warmer and wetter. Now the atmospheric density is just 1 percent of Earth's, offering little protection from the sun's deadly ultraviolet blast. Where did the air go?
"There are only two answers to that question: You can go down, or you can go up," Brain said.
November 5, 2013
Why India's Mars Mission Is So Much Cheaper Than NASA's
Former NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin pioneered a "faster, better, cheaper" approach to America's space program, but he would have been hard-pressed to deliver a Mars mission for the bargain-basement price of India's first probe to the red planet, which blasted off Tuesday.
"India's Mars mission, with a budget of $73 million, is far cheaper than comparable missions including NASA's $671 million Maven satellite that is expected to set off for Mars later in November," reports The Wall Street Journal, which is among several publications noting the disparity between the cost of U.S. space missions and India's burgeoning program.
Even the project director of India's Mars orbiter mission has been quick to tout his country's frugality in space:
Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)
"This is less than one-tenth of what the U.S. has spent on their Mars mission Maven," S. Arunan told reporters at a pre-launch news conference last week, according to Al-Jazeera, which added that "the cost-effectiveness of the mission is indeed turning out to be the highlight of the project, almost eclipsing the other aspects."
October 22, 2013
ISRO's Orbiter, NASA's Maven may 'cruise together' to Mars
The Times of India
India's preparations for its ambitious mission to the Red Planet are proceeding almost simultaneously with the American project on similar lines. On Sunday, ISRO completed the process of mating the 1,340kg Mars Orbiter with the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, marking a major step in the Rs 450-crore mission. An ISRO official told TOI that the process began on October 18.
On Monday, American space agency NASA moved the Atlas V rocket's payload to the clean room in preparation for the mating of the spacecraft-Mars Atmosphere And Volatile Evolution Mission (Maven)-with the launcher, which is scheduled to start in early November. ISRO's next step will be the closure of the heat-shield on Tuesday, when the launch authorization board will also reconvene at Sriharikota to firm up the launch date.
October 4, 2013
Mars mission preparations continue despite shutdown
Briefly threatened with missing some or all of its limited launch window to Mars because of the partial government shutdown, NASA's Maven mission on Thursday won approval from the space agency to resume preparations for a launch next month from Cape Canaveral.
"We have already restarted spacecraft processing at Kennedy Space Center, working toward being ready to launch on Nov. 18," said Bruce Jakosky, principal investigator for the $671 million mission. "We will continue to work over the next couple of days to identify any changes in our schedule or plans that are necessary to stay on track."
October 2, 2013
U.S. Government Shutdown Stops MAVEN Work; Threatens NASA Mars Launch!
The upcoming Nov. 18 blastoff of NASA’s next mission to Mars – the “breathtaking beautiful” MAVEN orbiter – is threatened by today’s (Oct. 1) shutdown of the US Federal Government. And the team is very “concerned”, although not yet “panicked.”
MAVEN’s on time launch is endangered by the endless political infighting in Washington DC. And the bitter gridlock could cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars or more on this mission alone!
Why? Because launch preparations at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) have ceased today when workers were ordered to stay home, said the missions top scientist in an exclusive to Universe Today.
“MAVEN is shut down right now!” Prof. Bruce Jakosky, MAVEN’s principal Investigator, of the University of Colorado at Boulder, told Universe Today in an exclusive post shutdown update today.
August 27, 2013
NASA's Mars mission gets rolling from Cape Canaveral
With a honk of its horn Monday morning, a flatbed truck rolled off a ship onto a Cape Canaveral Air Force Station wharf carrying the booster that will blast NASA’s next Mars-bound orbiter into space.
The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket’s Centaur upper stage, wrapped in a protective cover, followed close behind.
“It’s precious cargo,” observed Capt. Bob Martus of Foss Maritime Co., who safely piloted the two stages aboard ULA’s “Delta Mariner” on a more than 2,000-mile, week-long trip from Decatur, Ala.
The rocket will now be prepared for a planned Nov. 18 launch of NASA’s $671 million MAVEN mission.
August 12, 2013
Poetry Heading To Mars Aboard NASA’s MAVEN Spacecraft
NASA will launch more than 1,100 haiku to Mars aboard the MAVEN spacecraft later this year. The haiku are part of a contest that was sponsored by the University of Colorado and aimed at getting the public more interest in space.
Contestants were asked to “submit haiku poetry relating to NASA’s upcoming MAVEN mission to Mars,” per the university’s website. The MAVEN mission, which launches in November, is setting out to find out why the Red Planet lost its protective atmosphere, reports Discovery News. Scientists generally believe that Mars was once much like Earth. However, something happened to turn it from a lush, water world into a dry, cold desert.
July 16, 2013
Lockheed Martin and CU-Boulder prepare to ship MAVEN for launch Read more: Lockheed Martin and CU-Boulder prepare to ship MAVEN for launch
The Denver Post
The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft is about to leave Jefferson County and head to Cape Canaveral where it will be hurled toward Mars in November on a mission largely devised and developed on Colorado soil.
MAVEN was open for viewing for the last time in its home state on Monday at Lockheed Martin Space Systems. It is set to be disassembled and shipped to Florida's coast on Aug. 2. There it will spent 3-½ months being prepped for launch.
May 6, 2013
Go to Mars with MAVEN : Student art contest
University of Colorado
Public voting ends today:
What is the MAVEN art contest?
Design artwork about Mars using our sample file. Limit one design per person.
Who chooses the winning art?
You do! The contest is open to public voting on this site. Tell your friends and family to vote for your design! (Each person can vote once per design.)
Is there a prize for winning?
Your art will be used on the DVD label that will fly to Mars on the MAVEN spacecraft. It will also be saved on the DVD.
December 4, 2012
NASA Announces Robust Multi-Year Mars Program; New Rover to Close Out Decade of New Missions
Building on the success of Curiosity's Red Planet landing, NASA has announced plans for a robust multi-year Mars program, including a new robotic science rover set to launch in 2020. This announcement affirms the agency's commitment to a bold exploration program that meets our nation's scientific and human exploration objectives.
"The Obama administration is committed to a robust Mars exploration program," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. "With this next mission, we're ensuring America remains the world leader in the exploration of the Red Planet, while taking another significant step toward sending humans there in the 2030s."
The planned portfolio includes the Curiosity and Opportunity rovers; two NASA spacecraft and contributions to one European spacecraft currently orbiting Mars; the 2013 launch of the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) orbiter to study the Martian upper atmosphere; the Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) mission, which will take the first look into the deep interior of Mars; and participation in ESA's 2016 and 2018 ExoMars missions, including providing "Electra" telecommunication radios to ESA's 2016 mission and a critical element of the premier astrobiology instrument on the 2018 ExoMars rover.
October 1, 2012
Wright State professor has role in next Mars mission
Wright State University
The dramatic touchdown in August of the Mars rover Curiosity set the bar high for the next mission to Mars.
At Wright State University, Research Professor Jane L. Fox, Ph.D., has her fingers crossed.
The Department of Physics professor is a member of the science team for Mars MAVEN, next in line for a ride to the Red Planet. The unmanned craft is scheduled to blast off in late November 2013 and arrive in September 2014.
October 7, 2010
New Mars Orbiter to Investigate Case of the Lost Atmosphere
NASA has approved a new unmanned mission to Mars, one aimed at explaining exactly how the Red Planet lost most of its atmosphere.
A spacecraft is scheduled to launch in late 2013 and begin orbiting around Mars about 10 months later for a yearlong study. Scientists suspect that the sun has been stealing off Martian air for eons, and they expect the new probe to put that theory to the test.
NASA has given the $438 million project, which was first proposed in 2008, a heady name: the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission. Scientists are calling it "Maven" for short. "Maven will examine all known ways the sun is currently swiping the Martian atmosphere, and may discover new ones as well," said Joseph Grebowsky, the mission's project scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., in a statement.
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