Curious Mars


Searching for Mars' Missing Atmosphere

©NASA

Searching for Mars' missing atmosphere.

The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) mission, scheduled for launch in late 2013, will be the first mission devoted to understanding the Martian upper atmosphere. MAVEN will use its Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer to study the interaction of neutral gases and ions in the Martian atmosphere with the solar wind, helping scientists to understand how Mars has lost its atmosphere over time.

The goal of MAVEN is to determine the role that loss of atmospheric gas to space played in changing the Martian climate through time.

MAVEN will use its Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer to study the interaction of neutral gases and ions in the Martian atmosphere with the solar wind. For MAVEN the question is: Where did Mars's atmosphere - and the water - go?

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