MAVEN Completes First Deep Dip Campaign

Maven over Mars

This image shows an artist concept of the MAVEN spacecraft in orbit around Mars. (Courtesy NASA/GSFC)

The MAVEN spacecraft has completed the first of five deep-dip maneuvers designed to gather measurements closer to the lower end of the ‪#‎Martian‬upper atmosphere.

“During normal science mapping, we make measurements between an altitude of about 150 km and 6,200 km (93 miles and 3,853 miles) above the surface,” said Bruce Jakosky, MAVEN principal investigator at the University of Colorado Boulder‘s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. “During the deep-dip campaigns, we lower the lowest altitude in the orbit, known as periapsis, to about 125 km (78 miles) which allows us to take measurements throughout the entire upper atmosphere.”

The 25 km (16 miles) altitude difference may not seem like much, but it allows scientists to make measurements down to the top of the lower atmosphere. At these lower altitudes, the atmospheric densities are more than ten times what they are at 150 km (93 miles).

NASA Goddard
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Lockheed Martin
UC Berkeley

Read the full release here:, courtesy of University of Colorado, LASP