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Bruce Jakosky Colloquium Abstract (Sept 23, 2015)

Results from the MAVEN mission to Mars

The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft has been orbiting Mars since 21 September 2014 and collecting data in science mode since 16 November 2014. The science objectives of the MAVEN mission are to characterize the upper atmosphere and ionospheric structure and composition, the interactions of the sun and the solar wind with the planet, and the processes driving loss of gas from the atmosphere to space. Our goal is to understand the chain of processes leading to escape today, learn how to extrapolate back in time, and determine the integrated escape of atmosphere over Martian history. Measurements are being collected from all of the science instruments in our normal mapping orbit and through multiple “deep dip” campaigns. Results are providing a first-time detailed look at the upper-atmospheric system surrounding Mars, and are elucidating the key processes and history of the atmosphere.