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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Top 10 Discoveries of MAVEN

     MAVEN is an American Spacecraft which was launched in 2013 and inserted into Martian Orbit on September 2014. Since its launch it have been exploring Mars Upper atmosphere. MAVEN has made wonderful discoveries of upper atmosphere of Mars, NASA celebrated its 1000 days of orbit around Mars on 17 June 2017. Top 10 discoveries of MAVEN were
  • Imaging Showed that distribution of Nitric Oxide and Ozone in the upper atmosphere which shows Complex behavior and indicates that exchange of gases takes place between upper and lower atmosphere.
  • Particles from Solar Wind unexpectedly penetrate into upper atmosphere instead of diverted by planet's ionosphere. This particles react with charged particles in ionosphere and convert into neutral atoms that are able to penetrate deeply.
  • MAVEN detected the first observations Metal ion layer in the Martian ionosphere.
  • It identified Two new types of auroras which are named "Diffuse" and "Proton" aurora. These auroras are not similar to auroras in our Earth.
  • These aurorae are caused by influx of Solar particles ejected by various types of Solar Storms.
  • The interactions between Solar wind and planet are Complex. This results in the lack of intrinsic Martian Magnetic field and occurrence of small Magnetized crust that can affect incoming solar wind on local scales.
  • MAVEN observed seasonal variations of Hydrogen atoms in upper atmosphere by a factor of 10 throughout whole year. The source of Hydrogen is water present in the lower atmosphere that are broken down into Hydrogen and Oxygen by Sunlight.
  • It also used of isotopes in upper atmosphere and suggested that 2/3 or more gases has been lost to space.
  • MAVEN has measured the rate of stripping gases from top of atmosphere to space along with the process of removal and revealed that large amount of gas have lost to space.
  • The Mars atmosphere has been stripped away by the Sun and the Solar Wind. This results in the change of climate from warm to wet environment, early in History to cold and dry climate that we see today.
Credit: MAVEN Team, NASA and Goddard Space Flight Center.