Featured Missions & Projects - Planetary Environments Laboratory (699)
SAM (Sample Analysis at Mars) is a suite of instruments onboard NASA's Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity. SAM, along with Curiosity's other scientific instruments and tools, will investigate the past and present ability of Mars to support life.
The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission will be the first orbiter devoted to understanding the Martian upper atmosphere. Research suggests suggests that Mars once had a thicker atmosphere and was warm enough for liquid water to flow on the surface. MAVEN's instruments will explore Mars' upper atmosphere, ionosphere, and interactions with the sun and solar wind to determine the role played by loss of atmospheric gas to space in the evolution of the Martian climate through time. The Planetary Environments Laboratory at Goddard Space Flight Center will develop an instrument for MAVEN, the Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer. The mission is slated for launch in 2013.
Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) is a NASA mission that will orbit the moon to study its tenuous atmosphere and dust environment. The mission will gather detailed information about conditions near the surface and environmental influences on lunar dust. In addition to the science objectives, the mission will be testing a new spacecraft architecture called the Modular Common Bus, which NASA is developing as a flexible, low cost, rapid turn around spacecraft for both orbiting and landing on the Moon and other deep space targets. The Planetary Environments Laboratory at Goddard Space Flight Center is developing an instrument for LADEE, the Neutral Mass Spectrometer.
VAPoR (Volatile Analysis by Pyrolysis of Regolith)
is a study to develop a miniature version of the Sample Analysis at
Mars (SAM) instrument that is flying on the
2009 Mars Science Laboratory (MSL). The suitcase-size instrument is intended to investigate the volatile
content of lunar regolith, determine the abundance
of water and other volatiles, and help to
establish their origin (terrestrial, lunar, solar, or
The Ion and Neutral Mass Spectrometer (INMS) is collecting data to determine the composition and structure of positive ions and neutral particles in the upper atmosphere of Titan and the magnetosphere of Saturn. It is also measuring the positive ion and neutral environments of Saturn's rings and icy moons.
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