For optimal performance, it’s important for the high-gain antenna to maintain a consistent temperature while the spacecraft experiences large temperature swings from being exposed to the Sun or in the eclipse behind Mars. To maintain a consistent temperature range, a radome blanket covers the large antenna. Similar to the blanketing material that covers the spacecraft, the radome is made from very thin germanium-coated black Kapton film.
The goal of the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) program is to determine the role that loss of atmospheric gas to space played in changing the Martian climate through time. MAVEN will determine how much of the Martian atmosphere has been lost over time by measuring the current rate of escape to space and gathering enough information about the relevant processes to allow extrapolation backward in time.
MAVEN’s principal investigator is based at the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. The university will provide science operations, build instruments, and lead Education/Public Outreach. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, will manage the MAVEN mission and provide instruments. Lockheed Martin of Littleton, Colo., will build the spacecraft and perform mission operations. The University of California-Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory will build instruments for the mission. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., will provide Program management via the Mars Program Office, as well as navigation support, the Deep Space Network, and the Electra telecommunications relay hardware and operations.
More information about MAVEN is online at http://lasp.colorado.edu/home/maven/ and www.nasa.gov/maven/ .
Image Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Lockheed Martin
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