NASA’s newest Mars spacecraft has entered the orbit around the Red Planet after a 10-month journey. The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) arrived in the orbit of Mars on Sunday 21st September 2014. It is the first mission to ever study the upper atmosphere of the Red Planet.
“As the first orbiter dedicated to studying Mars’ upper atmosphere, MAVEN will greatly improve our understanding of the history of the Martian atmosphere, how the climate has changed over time, and how that has influenced the evolution of the surface and the potential habitability of the planet,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “It also will better inform a future mission to send humans to the Red Planet in the 2030s.”
MAVEN will now begin a six-week commissioning phase, followed by a year-long primary mission that will involve taking measurements of the composition, structure and escape of gases in Mars’ upper atmosphere.
Read more about the MAVEN mission here.