The mission, valued at $ 671 million, has been sent out for the first time to study the upper atmosphere of the red planet. Maven spacecraft NASA arrived late Sunday night to the Red Planet after a journey of 711 million kilometers that began nearly a year ago.
The robotic probe entered Mars orbit & activated the brakes successfully. Now is when the real work of the mission (valued at $ 671 million and that first explore the upper atmosphere of Mars) begins.
Flight controllers in Colorado will spend the next six weeks to adjust the altitude of Maven, review its scientific instruments and study a comet that will pass close. Then, in early November, Maven will begin to analyze the upper atmosphere of Mars. The spacecraft made its observations from orbit without landing.
Scientists believe that the atmosphere of Mars hides clues to why Earth’s neighbor happened to be hot and humid, billions of years ago, and then became cold and dry. This primitive wetter world could have supported microbial life; a fascinating question still unanswered.
Launched from Cape Canaveral in November, it is the tenth American mission sent to orbit around the planet. The three previous attempts failed. It joins three other Americans-two ships and a European satellite – already orbiting Mars, and within two days Mangalyann, India’s first interplanetary probe is expected to arrive.
The mission is number 21 for NASA’s trip to Mars and the first since the landing of the Curiosity robot in 2012.