Zee Media Bureau
Washington: NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft is set to enter the Mars orbit on Sunday evening to study the upper atmosphere of the Red Planet and reveal how its climate changed over time.
After 10 months in deep space, MAVEN is expected to enter the Mars orbit. The Mars arrival will cap a 442-million-mile tour across the solar system. The orbiter is estimated to be taken into custody by Mars gravity, after about 30 minutes of slowing down burn from its engines.
NASA’s website will provide a live broadcast beginning at 9:30 p.m (0130 GMT Monday) from the Littleton, Colo., mission operations center of Lockheed Martin Space Systems, which built the spacecraft.
MAVEN's findings are expected to help pave the way for a future visit by humans to Mars, perhaps as early as 2030.
Once MAVEN begins circling Mars, it will enter a six-week phase for tests.
Then, it begins a one-year mission of studying the gases in Mars' upper atmosphere and how it interacts with the sun and solar wind.
Much of MAVEN's year-long mission will be spent circling the planet 3,730 miles above the surface.
NASA has sent several rovers and probes to Mars in recent years. The latest robotic vehicle, Curiosity, is exploring Gale Crater and Mount Sharp, looking for interesting rocks and returning data on whether the Martian environment shows evidence of a past ability to support life.
(With Agency Inputs)