4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission achieved orbit around Mars a little over one Earth year ago. In the short half Mars year since then, MAVEN has begun to build a comprehensive picture of the structure and dynamics of the Martian atmosphere, ionosphere, and magnetosphere, the coupling between them, and the escape of atmospheric gases from them. Many processes that we observe at Mars have analogues at Earth, Venus, and even comets, and comparative planetology is critical in building our understanding of the Martian system. However, in the final analysis Mars is a completely unique planet (aren't they all?). Ultimately, we seek to understand not just how Mars works in the present epoch, but how Mars became the way it is today. I'll present to you some of the first building blocks toward that goal, focusing primarily on the structure and dynamics of the Martian ionosphere and magnetosphere, the ion escape channels from Mars, and the response of the system to extreme events.