NASA has announced that things are coming together for its future Mars mission. NASA announced recently that the remote-sensing instrument designed to study Mars in the ultraviolet in an effort to discover how Mars might’ve lost its atmosphere has arrived at Lockheed Martin. Lockheed began the final assembly of the MAVEN spacecraft in September of this year.
The remote-sensing package consists of an Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph and the required control electronics box. That control electronics box is called the Remote Sensing Data Processing Unit. This particular sensor suite was designed and built at the University of Colorado laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics.
This particular sensing tool is designed to collect light, spread it out into different spectra, and record that spectra using imaging detectors. The Remote Sensing Data Processing Unit is the spectrograph’s main electronics box the controls the spectrograph and communicates with the spacecraft. That control box tells the Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph where to look and is the camera’s brain.
The MAVEN spacecraft is set to launch late next year with the goal of understanding the upper atmosphere of Mars. Scientists hope that MAVEN will help to determine the history of the loss of atmospheric gases to space helping to provide answers about the evolution of Mars’ climate.