Planets and Moons  ID: 11600

Countdown To Mars

How did Mars’ climate change? How has the atmosphere been lost—and how quickly are gases escaping now? These are the questions that NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft will explore when it reaches the planet on September 21, 2014. Scientists believe Mars once had a thicker atmosphere that may have been gradually lost to space. The change would have had a considerable impact on the planet’s climate, liquid water and habitability, ultimately shaping the world we see today. Using a suite of instruments aboard the spacecraft, researchers will probe Mars’ upper atmosphere from orbit to study the processes that led to the thinning of its atmosphere over billions of years. Watch the video to learn more.

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Story Credits

Ryan Zuber (UMBC)
Chris Smith (HTSI)
Walt Feimer (HTSI)

Video Editor:
Chris Smith (HTSI)

Bruce Jakosky (LASP)

Chris Smith (HTSI)

Lead Scientist:
Bruce Jakosky (LASP)

Chris Smith (HTSI)

Lead Writer:
Kayvon Sharghi (USRA)

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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

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