Planetary Environments Laboratory


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Displaying records 1 to 6 of 6.


Field Campaign

Arctic Mars Analogue Svalbard Expedition (AMASE)

AMASE has established Svalbard as a test bed for life-detection technology that will be used on future NASA and ESA 'Search for Life' mission to Mars.

AMASE logo
Flight Project

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN)

The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission is 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 are exploring 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. Goddard's Planetary Environments Laboratory developed MAVEN's Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer and the Planetary Magnetospheres Laboratory developed MAVEN's magnetometer. The MAVEN mission launched November 18, 2013.

Key Staff
    MAVEN artist's concept
    Flight Project

    OSIRIS-APophis EXplorer (OSIRIS-APEX)

    OSIRIS-APophis EXplorer (APEX) is the extended mission for OSIRIS-REx, sending the spacecraft to a new destination after the sample collected from asteroid Bennu was returned to Earth in September 2023. APEX will rendezvous with near-Earth asteroid Apophis just after it makes a close approach to Earth in 2029. Following the observation strategy performed at Bennu, APEX will use the same instrument suite to perform comprehensive observations of this potentially hazardous object. Although it cannot return a sample, the mission will also use the spacecraft thrusters to excavate the surface for further analysis. OSIRIS-APEX is led by PI Daniella DellaGiustina of the University of Arizona and managed by GSFC.

    Key Staff
      Flight Project


      OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security--Regolith Explorer) launched September 8, 2016. It explored the Near Earth Asteroid (101955) Bennu in detail including with the Goddard-built OVIRS instrument. OSIRIS-REx collected a sample in October 2020 and returned it to Earth on September 24, 2023. This sample will help us investigate planet formation and the origin of life, and the data collected at the asteroid will also aid our understanding of asteroids that can impact Earth (Bennu is a potentially hazardous object with a 1-in-2,700 chance of impacting Earth between the years 2175 and 2199). OSIRIS-REx is led by PI Dante Lauretta of the University of Arizona and managed by GSFC.

      Key Staff
        OSIRIS-REx Logo

        Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM)

        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.

        Key Staff
          Sample Analysis at Mars Instrument Suite

          Signatures of Life in Ice (SLIce)

          The SLIce program focuses on investigations for the organic biosignatures and associated habitats of surface glacial ice. This work aims to provide guidance for future life and habitat detection missions to Mars and other icy regions in the Solar System.

          SLIce logo