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NASA's Maven Spacecraft Enters Mars Orbit

Mars Maven NASA
Posted at 8:34 AM, Sep 22, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-22 08:27:30-04

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Another NASA spacecraft has made it to Mars.

The Maven spacecraft entered orbit around Mars late Sunday night following a 442 million-mile journey that began nearly a year ago.

Now the real work begins for the $671 million mission.

Flight controllers will spend the next six weeks adjusting Maven's altitude and checking its science instruments. Then in early November, Maven will start probing the upper atmosphere of Mars. Scientists believe the Martian atmosphere holds clues as to how the planet went from being warm and wet billions of years ago to cold and dry.

Mars will get another visitor in not quite two days: India's first interplanetary probe, also aiming for Martian orbit. The Maven team members wished them well Monday.