Mars-Bound NASA Orbiter MAVEN Set to Launch


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Mars has been quite the hot spot lately. First, discussions about cultivating a human population on the planet have circulated. Now, NASA's MAVEN spacecraft is being prepared for the Monday, November 18th launch that is set for 1:28 p.m. EST.

The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) orbiter is already on the launch pad located in Florida at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. According to NASA, the Atlas V rocket, which is attached to MAVEN, was placed on the Launch Complex 41 pad on Saturday at 10:20 a.m. EDT.

This recent expedition is partly the result of increasing interest over the transition of the Red Planet from a wet, potentially-life-sustaining planet to the dry, vast dessert that now stretches across the region. No punches have been pulled with devoting necessary resources into this recent mission to Mars as $671 has reportedly been set for the project.

Scientists hope that MAVEN will gather information about the upper atmosphere of Mars where suspicions regarding the loss of magnetic field inside the planet's core may provide answers for the current geological landscape. The spacecraft is set for a 10 month journey to the Red Planet. MAVEN will not actually begin orbiting Mars until sometime close to September 22, 2014.

Those excited about watching live stream coverage of the launch, can see the coverage as NASA continues providing updates through Twitter and MAVEN's own blog.

[Image Via NASA]