Colorado built MAVEN spacecraft on display for last time

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Artist's concept of MAVEN in Mars orbit. (Photo: NASA)

DENVER – The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) built at Lockheed Martin’s Littleton, Colo. facility was on display for the last time Monday. The spacecraft will now be disassembled in preparation for the journey to Cape Canaveral on August 2.

NASA says MAVEN will not land on the surface of Mars but instead will orbit the atmosphere. This will be the first attempt by NASA to study the Martian upper atmosphere.

The University of Colorado at Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics will provide science operations, science instruments and lead Education/Public Outreach.

“I’m very pleased with how our team has designed and built the spacecraft and science instruments that will make our measurements,” said Bruce Jakosky, MAVEN principal investigator from the University of Colorado Boulder.

After 3-plus months of preparation, MAVEN will have a launch window lasting for 20 days and beginning on November 18.

According to NASA, the goal of MAVEN is to establish how the loss of atmospheric gases to space has affected the Martian climate over time. The essential question is why the atmosphere and water disappeared.

MAVEN should enable NASA to understand how much of the Martian atmosphere has been lost by measuring the present rate of escape to space and gathering information to grant extrapolation backward in time.

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