The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution or MAVEN has been given a 60 percent chance for favorable weather by forecasters at the U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron. The launch is set for 1:28 p.m. EST Monday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 41. MAVEN is scheduled to liftoff atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V at the beginning of a two hour launch window. Teams are working no technical issues and the countdown is targeted to pick up from the T-6 hour, 20 minute mark at 6:28 a.m. Monday.
The mission of MAVEN is to help understand what happened to the Atmosphere on Mars. Where did the water go? This is the first mission devoted to understanding the Martian upper atmosphere. MAVEN will determine how much of the Martian atmosphere has been lost over time by measuring the current rate of escape to space and gathering enough information about the relevant processes to allow extrapolation backward in time. The mission was spawned by NASA’s Mars Scout Program, which although discontinued in 2010, yielded Phoenix and MAVEN, as well as numerous missions studies. Mars Scout missions target a cost of less than US$485 million, not including launch services, which cost approximately $187 million.
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