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NASA's Maven Mars mission launches


Posted on Tuesday, 19 November, 2013 | Comment icon 7 comments


Maven should enter orbit around Mars in September 2014. Image Credit: NASA

The next spacecraft headed for the Red Planet has launched successfully from Cape Canaveral.

Rather than landing on the surface like the Curiosity rover, Maven will instead remain in orbit around Mars so that it can study the planet's atmosphere.

Mars is believed to have been once surrounded by a thick atmosphere that made it possible for liquid water to exist on its surface. Gradually however these gases were lost and NASA hopes that Maven will help to explain how this happened. Today the atmosphere is so thin that any liquid water on the surface would simply boil away immediately.

The $671m spacecraft launched on top of an Atlas V rocket at 13:28 local time and successfully separated after 53 minutes before deploying its solar panels and orienting itself for the trip.

"Everything looks good. The signals are coming in fine, and so far the systems that are on are reporting back great. We're heading out to the Red Planet," said project manager David Mitchell.

   
Source: BBC News | Comments (7)

Tags: Mars, Maven, NASA


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 18 November, 2013, 18:32
Atlas V with MAVEN Lift off! On time and at the first attempt.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 18 November, 2013, 19:27
An Atlas V rocket lifts off at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 41.The mission is to send the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, or MAVEN, spacecraft on a 10-month journey to explore the Red Planet's climate history. Credit: NASA's Kennedy Space Center
Comment icon #3 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 18 November, 2013, 22:42
Comment icon #4 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 19 November, 2013, 0:24
Following liftoff at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 41, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, or MAVEN, spacecraft separates from the Centaur upper stage as it begins a 10-month journey to explore the Red Planet's climate history. Credit: NASA's Kennedy Space Center
Comment icon #5 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 19 November, 2013, 0:55
Following liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 41, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, or MAVEN, spacecraft is on its way to the Red Planet. NASA officials discuss the launch and the mission. Credit: NASA's Kennedy Space Center
Comment icon #6 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 19 November, 2013, 1:35
Following liftoff of the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, or MAVEN, spacecraft from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden congratulated the agency and contractor launch team. (Note: Not optimum sound quality.) Credit: NASA's Kennedy Space Center
Comment icon #7 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 26 November, 2013, 18:12
On November 18, 2013, at 1:28 p.m. (EST), the MAVEN spacecraft rocketed away from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Space Launch Complex 41 atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V booster. The picture-perfect lift off was captured from a variety of angles adjacent to the launch pad and spread across NASA's Kennedy Space Center. The launch began a 10-month journey to Mars for MAVEN, where it will enter orbit on September 22, 2014, and become the first mission devoted to understanding the processes involved in the evolution of the planet's upper atmosphere. Doing so will add a cr... [More]
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