MAVEN spacecraft begins Mars orbit
September 22 , 2014
The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft entered the orbit of Mars after traveling 10 months and 442 miles to reach its destination, according to NASA sources.
NASA announced that MAVEN is the “first mission devoted to studying the upper Martian atmosphere as a key to understanding the history of Mars' climate, water and habitability”. The mission will therefore not land on the surface of Mars, but instead will study its atmosphere from above the surface, in order to understand the climatic changes on the planet.
Bruce Jakosky, NASA MAVEN's principal investigator, briefed the press about MAVEN’s mission, saying it would analyze the gases in Mars’s atmosphere in order to determine where the water that existed on its surface has gone. MAVEN will also coordinate with the Indian Mars Orbiter Mission, which is scheduled to enter Mars orbit in a few days. It will also observe Comet Sliding Spring, which will be passing by Mars in a few weeks’ time.