MAVEN, which stands for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, was launched on an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida at 1:28 pm local time, Monday, November 18, 2013.
Sporting a price tag of $671 million, MAVEN will reach our neighboring planet approximately 10 months. Once there, MAVEN will not land, but stay orbiting the Red Planet to study its upper atmosphere.
Evidence suggests that Mars previously held a thick atmosphere that was capable of supporting liquid water on the planet’s surface. Scientists want to understand why that is no longer the case.
During the 10 month long journey, MAVEN will course correct 4 times, helping to ensure that it arrives at the correct location and time, going into orbit around Mars on September 22, 2014.