NASA scientists are celebrating a big achievement this morning when their Mars rover Maven (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) successfully completed 1000 orbits around the red planet, where it has been circling from past few months to study upper atmosphere of Mars.
Maven started its venture on November 18, 2013 and successfully entered the Martian orbit on September 5, 2014. Since then its has been orbiting elliptically in the Mars’s upper atmosphere with 6,500 kilometers being the farthest point while 130 kilometers being the closest point to the Martian surface.
The prime objective of Maven is to observe the Mars atmosphere and give an insight into how the transition from moist and warm planet to dry and cold planet took place on Mars. For this to accomplish, the NASA spacecraft has been studying entire atmospheric region from top to bottom so that loss of atmospheric gasses over the time can be understood.
Scientists were amazed recently when Maven recorded two strange activities on the Martian surface; a high altitude dust cloud and aurora that reaches deep into the Martian atmosphere.
“MAVEN is already producing wonderful science results,” said Rich Burns, MAVEN project manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “We are all eager to see what this mission has to teach us about the Martian atmosphere past and present.”
Till now the spacecraft has been working well with all of its instruments intact and if everything goes well then the rover would help in building a gas composition model of Mars atmosphere, said Bruce Jakosky, MAVEN’s principal investigator from the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics in Boulder.
Moreover, NASA scientists will take help of the data collected by ISRO’s Mars orbiter Mangalyaan, Scientists believe that combined data may spew some clues about the future and life of the Earth.