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NASA's Mars Mission Maven Explorer Arrives in Orbit After a Year

Update Date: Sep 22, 2014 10:12 AM EDT
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The US space agency's latest Mars satellite, Maven has arrived successfully in orbit above the planet. 

Maven would study the Red Planet's high atmosphere, trying to understand the processes that have robbed the world most of its air. 

At present, the air pressure is so low on the planet that free water on the surface would instantly boil away. 

NASA hopes that the data of the explorer will enable scientists to build better models of current and past climate conditions on Mars. 

"Previous spacecraft have made measurements and we've learned a lot about the upper-atmosphere, but we haven't been able to put the whole end-to-end picture together," said principal investigator Bruce Jakosky, according to BBC News.

"I'm hoping Maven will be a mission of discovery, that almost everything we observe will lead us to fundamental new insights about the Mars environment today and how it has evolved over time," the University of Colorado, Boulder, researcher added.

Maven - short for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission - is going to spend at least a year collecting related data. It joins three spacecrafts already circling Mars, two American and one European. 

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