Space & Astronomy
NASA's Maven spacecraft arrives at Mars
By T.K. Randall
September 22, 2014 · 27 comments
Maven has successfully arrived at Mars. Image Credit: NASA
The satellite has arrived in orbit around the Red Planet after a 10-month voyage across the solar system.
The latest in a long line of spacecraft to visit Mars over the past few decades, NASA's Maven probe conducted a successful 33-minute burn of its six main thrusters this week to bring it in to orbit around its destination almost one year after its launch from Earth.
Its mission will be to study what remains of the planet's atmosphere in an attempt to better understand the processes that resulted in most of it being lost. Scientists are hoping that the data will help them build better models of Mars' past and present climate.
"Previous spacecraft have made measurements and we've learned a lot about the upper-atmosphere, but we haven't been able to put the whole end-to-end picture together," said principal investigator Bruce Jakosky.
"I'm hoping Maven will be a mission of discovery, that almost everything we observe will lead us to fundamental new insights about the Mars environment today and how it has evolved over time."
Another spacecraft, India's Mars Orbiter Mission, is also scheduled to arrive within the next few days.
Source: BBC News
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