Martian Skywatchers Provide Insight on Red Planet’s Atmosphere, Protect Orbiting Hardware

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A computer-generated picture from Marshall’s Meteoroid Environments Office shows a perspective from Acidia Planetia on Mars, that was a site of illusory wanderer Mark Watney's home bottom in a film The Martian. Credits: NASA/MSFC

A computer-generated picture from Marshall’s Meteoroid Environments Office shows a perspective from Acidia Planetia on Mars, that was a site of illusory wanderer Mark Watney’s home bottom in a film “The Martian.”
Credits: NASA/MSFC

Though a Martian turf echoes some facilities of a possess planet, a atmosphere is utterly different: thin, cold, dry and mostly stormy. Observing these conditions and bettering a technologies to flower in them is essential to someday critical and operative on a Red Planet. Marshall Space Flight Center’s scientists and engineers have several collection to ready a apparatus – and someday, a organisation – for a journey.

The Mars Global Reference Atmospheric Model is a Marshall-developed and confirmed indication of a Martian atmosphere. Mars-GRAM is widely used for different goal and engineering applications such as lander systems design, opening analysis, and operations formulation for aerobraking, entry, skirmish and landing. Mars-GRAM outputs embody density, temperature, pressure, winds, and comparison windy voters – readings critical to successful operations.

For example, engineers employed Mars-GRAM to identify, characterize, and consider environmental risks to a alighting and aspect operations of Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity rover), helping in a alighting site preference process.

A computer-generated picture from Marshall’s Meteoroid Environments Office shows a night sky and a plcae of several constellations as they would seem from Acidia Planetia on Mars, that was a site of illusory wanderer Mark Watney's home bottom in a film The Martian. Credits: NASA/MSFC

A computer-generated picture from Marshall’s Meteoroid Environments Office shows a night sky and a plcae of several constellations as they would seem from Acidia Planetia on Mars, that was a site of illusory wanderer Mark Watney’s home bottom in a film “The Martian.”
Credits: NASA/MSFC

Marshall scientists and engineers also observe and guard a Martian area for vast trade – such as a flitting comet — that might bluster orbiting instruments. In 2014, a Meteoroid Environment Office shaped a Comet Siding Spring Local Working Group to guard a astronomical body’s tighten proceed (it upheld within approximately 84,000 miles of Mars on Oct. 19).  Prior to a comet’s closest proceed to Mars, orbital maneuvers were finished to pierce a Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Odyssey orbiter and Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN booster to a “minimum risk” area behind Mars and divided from quick relocating cometary dust. MRO and Odyssey monitored a atmosphere of Mars and MAVEN monitored Mars’ top atmosphere before, during and after a comet’s approach, branch a potentially dangerous confront into a scholarship opportunity.

Source: NASA