Presentation #100.02 in the session “Mars”.
The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) mission has been making observations of the Martian atmosphere since its arrival in 2014. MAVEN is not only able to take measurements of the upper atmosphere, but it can also observe inputs from the Sun (EUV, solar wind and energetic particles) as well the remanent magnetic crustal fields embedded in the southern hemisphere of Mars. In effect, MAVEN is able to observe the drivers from above and below to determine how much of the Martian atmosphere has been lost over time. Atmospheric escape is particularly important for understanding the history of water on Mars; in order for water to have existed in liquid form on the surface, the atmospheric pressure had to have been substantially higher than it is today. As this thicker atmosphere eroded over time, the water in liquid form was sequestered in the crust and stored as subsurface ice. Thus, by measuring the current rate of atmospheric escape to space and extrapolating back in time, we can better understand Mars’ climate and reservoirs of water. During this talk, we will discuss a variety of new discoveries at Mars over the last 3 Martian years (nearly seven Earth years), from November 2014 to present, and how those have enabled the team to quantify the loss of atmospheric gases to space over Martian history. In addition to understanding Mars’ past and present atmosphere, we will discuss the future goals, observations and collaborations for MAVEN.