Mars Mysteries: MAVEN Orbiter Set For Launch To Uncover Red Planet’s Secrets – 17 November 2013

RT logoNASA is set to launch the latest Mars orbiter to learn more about the Red Planet’s atmosphere – and probably to discover what happened to Mars billions of years ago that rendered the planet uninhabitable.

The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution orbiter, or MAVEN, is to blast off powered by an Atlas 5 rocket on Monday afternoon, and will reach Mars in 10 months. The mission will cost $671 million and last for a year, though studies like this tend to often be extended, though, as long as the spacecraft is able to function and transfer data.

After its arrival, plans are for MAVEN to move into an elliptical orbit where it will pass through and sample the upper Martian atmosphere and also carry out ultraviolet imaging of the planet.

Maven will be the 10th orbiter the US space agency sends to Mars; three have failed.

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