MAVEN mission team preparing for orbit-insertion maneuver
NASA has informed that Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft will enter Mars orbit on September 21. The mission team will carry out orbit-insertion maneuver in few days. Six engines will ignite and will work for 33 minutes to slow down the spacecraft.
MAVEN spacecraft has travelled for 10 months and covered a distance of nearly 440 million miles. MAVEN will try to figure out the changes witnessed by the atmosphere of the red planet over millions of years. The mission will also find out the amount of gas that has escaped to the space over years and the processes that led to the loss of gas.
NASA expects the MAVEN mission to last for one year. However, with efficient use of fuel, the mission could even last for 10 years. The spacecraft will be managed by on-board computers. As per the plans, the spacecraft won’t require commands from earth-based station.
The project was launched in November 2013.
“We are the first mission devoted to observing the upper atmosphere of Mars and how it interacts with the sun and the solar wind,” said Bruce Jakosky, principal investigator for MAVEN at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
India has also sent Mars mission termed as Mangalyaan. The Mars mission with five on-board instruments has been developed by Indian scientists at ISRO. The cost of Indian Mars Orbiter Mission is quite low compared to the cost of NASA space missions.
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