US spacecraft orbits Mars to study planet’s climate

World Today

The latest U.S. spacecraft to travel to Mars is now in orbit around the planet.

The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission, or MAVEN, will spend at least a year studying the Martian atmosphere and climate.

Engineers at Lockheed Martin guided MAVEN into the exact spot to do that work. CCTV America’s Hendrik Sybrandy reports.

US spacecraft orbits Mars to study planet's climate

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It took 11 years of planning, more than $671 million, and countless ‘what-if’ scenarios for Lockheed to build MAVEN. The company is also conducting the scientific studies on this mission.

MAVEN will spend the next year studying Mars’ upper atmosphere to try to discover why Earth’s neighbor, which was warm and wet billions of years ago, is now cold and dry.

Scientists want to know what role solar winds played in stripping away the Martian atmosphere, which once contained abundant water and carbon dioxide.

The science part of the MAVEN mission will start when it begins taking its first Mars measurements six weeks from now.