Excitement mounts as NASA prepares to reveal another scientific breakthrough regarding the Red Planet.
NASA is preparing to unveil the results of a recent study about Mars’ atmosphere, according to a report from Space.com. The agency will announce the findings on Thursday, November 5, and will stream their press conference live online.
The press conference will take place on Thursday at 2pm EST, and will reveal information about the fate of the Martian atmosphere. A NASA media release revealed that NASA TV will stream the announcement live.
Speakers will discuss the study’s findings made by NASA’s MAVEN Spacecraft, which has been orbiting Mars since the end of 2014. Panelists include Jim Green, the director of planetary science at NASA HQ, Bruce Jakosky, the MAVEN mission’s principal investigator at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado, Boulder, Jaasper Halekas, the lead scientist overseeing MAVEN’s solar wind ion analyzer instrument from the University of Iowa, Yaxue Dong, a MAVEN team member at LASP, and Dave Brain, a MAVEN co-investigator who also works at LASP.
MAVEN stands for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution. The mission seeks to determine how, why, and when Mars’s atmosphere dissipated into space. We know that liquid water once existed on Mars, so there must have been an atmosphere thick enough to support it. Today, the atmosphere of Mars is just 1 percent as dense as the Earth’s atmosphere at sea level.
According to MAVEN scientists, the goal of the mission is to determine how the loss of volatile organic compounds from Mars’ atmosphere affected the planet’s evolution over time. They seek insight into Mars’ climatic and atmospheric history, and hope to determine whether or not it was once feasible for life to exist on the Red Planet.
Maven, launched in 2013, has been researching Mars since September of 2014. It is currently one of five spacecraft currently orbiting the Red Planet, joining NASA’s Mars Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, India’s Mangalyaan probe and the Mars Express launched by the European Space Agency.
A brief outline of the MAVEN mission can be found here.