So another mission I am working on as the System Safety Engineer for Kennedy Space Center's Launch Services Program is dubbed "MAVEN." This stands fro MArs Volatile EvolutioN, and has the objective of gathering information about the atmosphere of Mars in order to attempt to extrapolate a climate history. This could provide insight into the potential prior habitability of Mars as well as information about how Earth's atmosphere may change over time (image right: NASA).
As with the IRIS mission I posted about yesterday, the spacecraft is contracted to Lockheed Martin and is overseen by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. KSC's Launch Services Program leads the integration effort between the spacecraft and yet un-announced launch vehicle.
MAVEN has a short launch window at the end of 2013 at which time, if all goes according to plan, it will be launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
Tomorrow…we'll discuss the Mars Science Laboratory mission which is targeted for the end of 2011 (after a costly 2-year slip).