Today marks one year since NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission entered orbit around our planetary neighbor. The goal of the $671 million mission is to investigate the planet’s upper atmosphere in hopes that it may hold clues about how Mars transitioned from a wet world with a thick atmosphere to a desert world with a thin one.
Launched on November 18, 2013, the spacecraft traveled for about ten months, over more than 400 million miles, before it reached the Red Planet on September 21, 2014. Since then, MAVEN has circled for a full year, including among its accomplishments the first up-close observation of a comet flying by Mars, and four deep-dip campaigns in which it descended to collect information from the lower, denser portions of the Martian upper atmosphere.
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SOURCE: Popular Science, Steph Yin