What happened to the Atmosphere on Mars? Where did the water go? These are the questions Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) is trying to answer. This is the first mission devoted to understanding the Martian upper atmosphere. MAVEN will determine how much of the Martian atmosphere has been lost over time by measuring the current rate of escape to space and gathering enough information about the relevant processes to allow extrapolation backward in time.
NASA’s next Mars-bound spacecraft is set to launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket Monday, Nov. 18. The two-hour launch window extends from 1:28 p.m. to 3:28 p.m. EST. Liftoff will occur from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41.
NASA will host a number of pre and post-launch activities at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, including:
Friday, Nov. 15
- 1 p.m. – Prelaunch news conference on NASA TV
- 2 p.m. – MAVEN Spanish media briefing on NASA TV
Saturday, Nov. 16
- 9 a.m. – Atlas V launch vehicle rollout transportation departs the Kennedy Press Site parking lot at 9 a.m. (not on NASA TV)
- 2 p.m. – MAVEN NASA Social on NASA TV
Sunday, Nov. 17
- 10 a.m. – MAVEN mission science briefing on NASA TV
- 11:30 a.m. – “The Path Toward Humans to Mars” briefing on NASA TV
Monday, Nov. 18
- 11 a.m. – Live prelaunch commentary begins on NASA TV
- Post-launch news conference on NASA TV targeted for about 2 1/2 hours after launch