Members of the mission team at the Lockheed Martin Mission Support Area in Littleton, Colorado, celebrate after successfully inserting NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft into orbit around Mars at 10:24 p.m. EDT Sunday, Sept. 21. Credit: Lockheed Martin

Members of the mission team at the Lockheed Martin Mission Support Area in Littleton, Colorado, celebrate after successfully inserting NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft into orbit around Mars at 10:24 p.m. EDT Sunday, Sept. 21.
Credit: Lockheed Martin

Two new spacecraft have successfully entered Mars orbit: NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft and India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) – MAVEN on Sept. 21; MOM on Sept. 24.

Both spacecraft are now undergoing extensive checkout.

With the successful insertion of India’s Marscraft into orbit around the Red Planet, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) became the fourth space agency to successfully send a spacecraft to Mars orbit.

Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, was present at ISRO’s Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network in Bangalore to witness the country’s MOM spacecraft braking into Mars orbit. ISRO Chairman, K. Radhakrishnan, looks on. Credit: ISRO

Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, was present at ISRO’s Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network in Bangalore to witness the country’s MOM spacecraft braking into Mars orbit. ISRO Chairman, K. Radhakrishnan, looks on.
Credit: ISRO

Where will they make new discoveries? Clues to where they should focus investigations can be gleaned from a new geologic map of the planet.

According to Ken Tanaka of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Flagstaff, Arizona, the new map – seven years in the making — provides a comprehensive digital geologic database of Mars, useful for guiding exploration and research into its geological history, resources, astrobiology potential, and geophysical and climatological information.

Credit: USGS

Credit: USGS

 

For access to information on the map, go to this informative American Geophysical Union article at:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2014EO380001/pdf

For full access to the USGS Mars map go to:

http://pubs.usgs.gov/sim/3292/

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