Leading the News
MAVEN Spacecraft’s “Real Work” At Mars Now Will Begin.
The CBS Evening News (9/22, story 10, 0:25, Pelley) continued coverage of the MAVEN spacecraft’s arrival at Mars on Sunday, whose goal is to understand how the planet became the “cold, dry planet” observed today. Among the articles providing new coverage of the event, the AP (9/23, Dunn) notes that MAVEN will now start its “real work” at the planet. According to the article, MAVEN and future landers heading to the planet in coming years from various space agencies will help astronauts live on the planet. John Grunsfeld, NASA associate administrator for Science, said, “This really is a quest of humanity.”
According to the Los Angeles Times (9/22, Khan), the orbital entry went so well that the spacecraft has “potentially enough” fuel to remain in orbit around the planet for a decade past its one-year mission. Principal investigator Bruce Jakosky said that this could allow the spacecraft to see how the planet behaves during on full solar cycle.
The Denver Post (9/22, Keeney) notes that some of MAVEN’s instruments have already sent back some data even though it will be several weeks before the spacecraft is fully commissioned.
Nature (9/22, Witze) also reports on the “jubilation” at the Goddard Space Flight Center following the insertion. As for India’s spacecraft arriving at the planet tomorrow, Grunsfeld noted, “Mars is still really hard — half the spacecraft we lose,” so arriving at Mars “will be a nail-biter for the Indians as well.”
Discovery News (9/22, O’Neill) noted that NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a release, “As the first orbiter dedicated to studying Mars’ upper atmosphere, MAVEN will greatly improve our understanding of the history of the Martian atmosphere, how the climate has changed over time, and how that has influenced the evolution of the surface and the potential habitability of the planet. … It also will better inform a future mission to send humans to the Red Planet in the 2030s.”
The Christian Science Monitor (9/22, Spotts), WAAY-TV Huntsville, AL (9/22, Barrett) website, and ABC News (9/22, Newcomb) website also cover the story.
India Successfully Tests Its Mars Orbiter’s Engine. Reuters (9/22, Kalra) reported that the ISRO successfully tested the Mangalyaan spacecraft’s main engine yesterday, performing a needed course correction ahead of arriving at Mars tomorrow. The article notes that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is using the mission to help him establish India further into the space market.
The NPR (9/22, McCarthy) “Parallels” blog carries a broadcast from “All Things Considered.” According to the article, India’s mission has “no exotic experiments,” which has caused some to criticize that the country cannot afford such a project now. Columnist Aakar Patel reportedly called the mission “wasteful symbolism.” However, Roddam Narasimha of the Jawaharlal Nehru Center for Advanced Scientific Research, noted that by “frugal innovation,” India can afford the mission and “get something out of it” that can benefit the nation.
The Economic Times (IND) (9/22, Kumar) reports that India plans to obtain its first color images of the planet by Wednesday afternoon.
Universe Today (9/22, Kremer), AmericaSpace (9/22, Evans), Press Trust of India (9/22), Daily News and Analysis (IND) (9/22), Asian Age (9/23, Srikanth), Latin Post (9/22, Hill), Times of India (9/22, Ram), also cover the story.