1 00:00:00,020 --> 00:00:08,850 [ ambient sound ] 2 00:00:08,870 --> 00:00:13,210 If you want to send a spacecraft from Earth to Mars, how would you get it there? 3 00:00:13,230 --> 00:00:20,980 You can't aim straight at the Red Planet because it's moving around the Sun almost 13,000 mph slower than the Earth. 4 00:00:21,000 --> 00:00:24,680 Instead, you'll have to wait for up to 26 months for the Earth and Mars 5 00:00:24,700 --> 00:00:29,980 to be in just the right spot in their orbits, then carefully aim at a moving target. 6 00:00:30,000 --> 00:00:35,630 In November 2013, the controllers of NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN mission, 7 00:00:35,650 --> 00:00:42,730 or MAVEN, did just that, launching the Mars-bound orbiter from Cape Canaveral, Florida on an Atlas V rocket. 8 00:00:42,750 --> 00:00:48,130 After separating from the rocket and the Centaur upper stage, MAVEN unfolded its solar arrays, 9 00:00:48,150 --> 00:00:52,280 pointed them at the Sun, and embarked on a ten-month cruise to Mars. 10 00:00:52,300 --> 00:00:56,040 The launch sent MAVEN arcing outward on a path called a transfer orbit, 11 00:00:56,060 --> 00:01:01,080 which will intersect with the orbit of Mars on September 21, 2104. 12 00:01:01,100 --> 00:01:04,410 By starting its journey when the Earth was behind Mars, MAVEN has been 13 00:01:04,430 --> 00:01:09,040 taking advantage of our planet's greater speed to catch up to its target. 14 00:01:09,060 --> 00:01:13,230 When MAVEN arrives, it will not be automatically captured by Mars's gravity, 15 00:01:13,250 --> 00:01:19,850 but will instead need to perform an engine burn to change its velocity by over 2,700 miles per hour. 16 00:01:19,870 --> 00:01:25,280 Just before Mars Orbit Insertion, the spacecraft will turn its thrusters in the direction of travel, 17 00:01:25,300 --> 00:01:30,820 then MAVEN will fire its engines for thirty-three minutes. The engine burn will slow MAVEN's velocity, 18 00:01:30,840 --> 00:01:37,380 allowing Mars's gravity to take over, and pulling the spacecraft into an elongated 35-hour orbit. 19 00:01:37,400 --> 00:01:41,210 In the following weeks MAVEN will reduce its orbit to four-and-a-half hours, 20 00:01:41,230 --> 00:01:45,180 then it will deploy its science instruments and begin collecting data. 21 00:01:45,200 --> 00:01:50,380 MAVEN's findings will reveal how Mars changed from a warm, wet planet early in its history, 22 00:01:50,400 --> 00:01:59,630 to the cold, dry world we see today, shedding light on one of the solar system's biggest mysteries. 23 00:01:59,650 --> 00:02:08,080 [ music ] 24 00:02:08,100 --> 00:02:19,787 [ satellite beeping ]