The CU-led MAVEN mission to Mars was successfully launched by NASA on Monday, Nov. 18. The orbiter is now on its way to study the Red Planet with a cargo of sensitive instruments designed to help us better understand the mysteries of the Martian atmosphere, and possibly reveal how the planet lost its ancient and potentially life-sustaining environment.
When the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission launches in November to study why the Red Planet is losing its atmosphere, one of its instruments will look to electrically charged particles called electrons for answers.
The Red Planet bleeds. Not blood, but its atmosphere, slowly trickling away to space. The culprit is our sun, which is using its own breath, the solar wind, and its radiation to rob Mars of its air. The crime may have condemned the planet’s surface, once apparently promising for life, to a cold and sterile existence.
Thanks for Joining Us at the UMC!
Students from Boulder schools gathered at the UMC to watch the MAVEN launch live. The Alumni Association set up a photo booth and you can see the images in our Flickr gallery here.