Interactive discussion of NASA Mars mission hosted by JMU Planetarium

by Eric Gorton

A live interactive broadcast of a discussion about the upcoming launch of NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission will be held at noon Saturday, Nov. 16 in Miller Hall Room 1101.

Attendees of the broadcast, which is free and open to the public, will be able to ask questions to the engineers and scientists from the National Institute of Aerospace who worked on the project.

MAVEN, a 5,410- pound spacecraft, is scheduled to launch at 1:28 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and will be the first mission to look at the upper atmosphere of Mars. The data and analysis could educate scientists on the history of climate change on Mars as well as its liquid water and planetary habitability.

"The MAVEN mission is a significant step toward unraveling the planetary puzzle about Mars' past and present environments," said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. "The knowledge we gain will build on past and current missions examining Mars and will help inform future missions to send humans to Mars."

The craft will launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket on a 10-month journey to Mars. After arriving at Mars in September 2014, MAVEN will settle into an elliptical orbit. The mission will take approximately one Earth year to complete.

Doors to Room 1101 will be open at 11:30 a.m. and seats are first come, first seated.

For more information about the MAVEN launch, please visit:

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Published: Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Last Updated: Thursday, October 20, 2016

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