University of Colorado professor Nick Schneider has been awarded NASA‘s Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal for his contributions to the success of the MAVEN mission now orbiting Mars.
A research associate at CU‘s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, Schneider is the lead scientist on CU‘s Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph, part of the payload on NASA‘s MAVEN spacecraft, which has been orbiting at Mars since 2014.
According to a news release, NASA‘s Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal is awarded for individual efforts that result in key discoveries or contributions of fundamental importance in the field. Schneider was presented with the medal in an Oct. 31 ceremony at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
Discoveries and observations made by Schneider and his colleagues with the IUVS instrument during the MAVEN mission include recording the aftermath of an intense meteor shower over Mars triggered by a passing comet.
The CU instrument suite has shown that unlike Earth, which has a strong magnetic field that limits its aurora to the polar regions, the aurora on Mars can engulf the entire planet.