MAVEN Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer

  • Released Thursday, July 18, 2013

While NASA rovers, landers, and orbiters have scrutinized the surface of Mars for decades, a key question to understanding the Red Planet's ancient habitability has hitherto gone unanswered: what happened to its atmosphere? NASA's MAVEN spacecraft will fill in this gap in the history of Mars, thanks in part to its Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer, or NGIMS instrument. By studying the interaction of neutral gases and ions with the solar wind, NGIMS will observe current atmospheric escape processes on Mars and allow scientists to extrapolate back to the ancient atmosphere. The results could tell scientists just how long Mars was warm, wet, and hospitable, refining our understanding of its early potential for life.

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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

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This page was originally published on Thursday, July 18, 2013.
This page was last updated on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 at 1:51 PM EDT.


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