On Sunday March 21st NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft will enter into orbit around Mars Or as NASA puts it, ‘NASA Mars Spacecraft Ready for Sept. 21 Orbit Insertion’ … phrasing (see below)?? Regardless, MAVEN has traveled 442 million miles over 10 months to reach Mars and begin its mission, which will help pave the way for a human journey to Mars.
Following orbit insertion, MAVEN will begin a six-week commissioning phase that includes maneuvering the spacecraft into its final orbit and testing its instruments and science-mapping commands. Thereafter, MAVEN will begin its one-Earth-year primary mission to take measurements of the composition, structure and escape of gases in Mars’ upper atmosphere and its interaction with the sun and solar wind.
To learn more about the MAVEN mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/maven