NASA begins mission to explore atmosphere of Mars

Staff Reports
NASA begins mission to explore atmosphere of Mars
We know Mars is cold, dusty and distant. Scientists hope to learn more about the planet's atmosphere with the launch Nov. 18 of NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission.

     This is the first mission devoted to understanding the planet’s upper atmosphere. NASA used the word “flawless” to describe the launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex. The spacecraft begins a 10-month journey to orbit, where it will gather data on the planet’s current-day atmospheric loss.
     NASA reports the craft will explore the planet’s atmosphere, ionosphere --the part of the atmosphere beginning at an altitude of 25 miles and extending outward by 250 miles or more -- and interactions with the sun and solar wind.
     MAVEN must get to Mars and complete a checkout period before it can begin collecting data, according to NASA. The spacecraft’s arrival is scheduled for Sept. 22, 2014.

See the MAVEN team blog here.


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