Mars mission science team includes Wright State professor, OhioLINK patron

Jane Fox, research professor in the Department of Physics, will research data that the MAVEN spacecraft collects on Mars.


Wright State University Research Professor Jane L. Fox, Ph.D., is waiting eagerly for MAVEN—short for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN—to swing gently into the orbit of Mars. A faculty member since 1995, Fox has been studying planetary atmospheres since the 1970s. Her computer models have helped explain the observed particle behavior in the ionospheres of Mars and Venus, and frame questions for subsequent missions, including MAVEN’s.

Along the way, Wright State and OhioLINK together provide Fox with the materials she needs for this reading-intensive research.

MAVEN is expected to enter Mars’ atmosphere on Sept. 21, 2014, Eastern Standard Time, 10 months after launching. However, the ordinarily risky orbit entry is further complicated by a comet’s expected trajectory.

“More than 100 people working on the mission will celebrate a great triumph when MAVEN safely enters orbit,” Fox said.  Team members hail from the University of Colorado Boulder/Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, the University of California, Berkeley/Space Sciences Laboratory, and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.


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