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MAVEN is an American spacecraft orbiting Mars to study the loss of its atmospheric gases to space, providing insight into the history of the planet's climate and water.[4] The spacecraft name is an acronym for "Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution" and also a word that means "a person who has special knowledge or experience; an expert".[5][6] MAVEN was launched on an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, on 18 November 2013 UTC and went into orbit around Mars on 22 September 2014 UTC. The mission is the first by NASA to study the Mars atmosphere. The probe is analyzing the planet's upper atmosphere and ionosphere to examine how and at what rate the solar wind is stripping away volatile compounds.

Quick facts: Names, Mission type, Operator, COSPAR ID, SAT...
Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution
Artist's rendering of the MAVEN spacecraft bus
  • Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution
Mission typeMars atmospheric research
COSPAR ID2013-063A
SATCAT no.39378
WebsiteOfficial website
Mission duration2 years (planned)
Science phase extended indefinitely
8 years, 2 months, 11 days (in progress)
Spacecraft properties
ManufacturerLockheed Martin Space Systems
Launch mass2,454 kg (5,410 lb)[1]
Dry mass809 kg (1,784 lb)
Payload mass65 kg (143 lb)
Dimensions2.3 m × 2.3 m × 2 m
Power1135 watts[2]
Start of mission
Launch date18 November 2013, 18:28:00 UTC
RocketAtlas V 401 (AV-038)
Launch siteCape Canaveral, SLC-41
ContractorUnited Launch Alliance
Orbital parameters
Reference systemAreocentric orbit
RegimeElliptic orbit
Periareon altitude150 km (93 mi)
Apoareon altitude6,200 km (3,900 mi)
Period4.5 hours
Mars orbiter
Orbital insertion22 September 2014, 02:24 UTC [3]
MSD 50025 08:07 AMT

Maven mission logo  

The principal investigator for the mission is Shannon Curry at the University of California, Berkeley. She took over from Bruce Jakosky of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado Boulder, who proposed and led the mission until 2021.[4] The project cost $582.5 million to build, launch, and operate through its two-year prime mission.[7]

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