MAVEN spacecraft set to explore Martian atmosphere

illustration of NASA's MAVEN spacecraft

NASA's MAVEN spacecraft, seen orbiting Mars in this artist's illustration, is now ready to start studying the Red Planet's upper atmosphere. 

GSFC/NASA

Mars has a new visitor from Earth. MAVEN, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution spacecraft, entered into orbit around the Red Planet on September 21 and is now preparing for its primary mission — to study the planet’s upper atmosphere. The goal of the mission is to understand how the climate of Mars has changed over time. “It also will better inform a future mission to send humans to the Red Planet in the 2030s,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement. MAVEN is slated to study the Martian atmosphere for at least one Earth year. 

Ashley Yeager is the associate news editor at Science News. She has worked at The Scientist, the Simons Foundation, Duke University and the W.M. Keck Observatory, and was the web producer for Science News from 2013 to 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.

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