Magnetometer to Measure Mars' Atmosphere & Climate Evolution

The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission will start its journey to Mars later this year, carrying a new magnetic-field instrument developed at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Unlike Earth's global magnetic field, which surrounds the entire planet, Mars only has patches of magnetic field left in its crust. The mission goal is to determine the history of the loss of atmospheric gases to space through time, providing answers about Mars' climate evolution. By measuring the current rate of escape to space and gathering enough information about the relevant processes, scientists will be able to infer how the planet's atmosphere evolved. The MAVEN magnetometer will measure patches of magnetic field through a series of coils, each containing a magnetic ring wrapped around a metal core. The sensors, known as flux gates, are driven in and out of saturation by applied magnetic fields.