NASA scientists are upbeat over the Mars mission MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) completing the 1000 orbiting circles in 200 days to be precise since September 5 last year, around the same time when India’s successful Mangalyaan mission also entered the Martian orbit to give it company.
Launched by Indian space agency ISRO, Mangalyaan is carrying 5 instruments that will help learn more about Mars though it would be secondary scientific data compared to Maven.
Maven was launched on November 18, 2013 and it entered successfully the Martian orbit on September 5, 2014, whereas Mangalyaan entered the orbit on September 24, 2014.
Both missions have sent pictures but being a small mission, Mangalyaan was confined to experimental or a “technology demonstrator” project. Still both Maven and mangalyaan are orbiting the Mars orbit. Maven has been orbiting in elliprical rotation with 6,500 km at its farthest point and 130 km at its closest point on the Martian surface. Both missions are to observe the Mars atmosphere that has apparently underwent sea change from watery, moist and a warm planet to a cold atmosphere.
Some of the accomplishments of Maven include observation of strange atmospheric phenomenon on Mars like a dust cloud and aurora that reached deep into the surface atmosphere. Another accomplishment was its observation of NASA’s Curiosity rover and its predecessor which are collecting samples for analysis and sending images of the muddy surface back to Earth.
Rich Burns, MAVEN project in-charge at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland is eager to know more. “We are all eager to see what this mission has to teach us about the Martian atmosphere past and present.”
Maven and Mangalyaan may together give space scientists some data that can be processed in the future to learn more clues on the Mars ahead of the planned manned mission to Mars by 2030.
It carries five instruments that will help advance knowledge about Mars to achieve its secondary, scientific objective.