MAVEN meets up with Mars’ atmosphere

The latest big news is the arrival of MAVEN in the martian orbit. MAVEN means Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution – the fetching name of the spacecraft/mission which will study the upper atmosphere.

The outcomes from NASA’s mission include

(a) gain a better understanding of the history of the atmosphere

(b) discover how climate has changed over time

(c) work out how climate influenced the evolution of the planet’s surface and

(d) check out the potential habitability of the planet.

This is all very exciting and helps NASA prepare for its Mars mission in the 2030s when it plans to send humans.

Others are planning to arrive on Mars five years before this time.

 http://www.mars-one.com/ details its plans to send crews of four people every two years from 2024.

No matter what the timeframe, Outback Astronomy sky shows let our younger audiences know that within another 10 to 15 years they will definitely remember what they were doing on the day that Mar’s version of Neil Armstrong takes that first step. These young folk, aged from 8 to 12 years, are excited and inspired by these future human exploration feats. Many say they would like to be up there, at the controls, issuing commands and making decisions.

Thanks to missions like MAVEN, these future travels will be well informed. Read more about MAVEN at http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/maven/main/#.VCK9ofmSy8A.

PHOTO: MAVEN spacecraft, courtesy NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre