NASA gives thumbs-up for new $438 million Mars mission

October 6, 2010

(ChattahBox Science News) NASA has given the go ahead for a 2013 Mars mission budgeted at $438 million, in order to investigate how the planet has lost its atmosphere.
The United States’ Space Agency has approved on Monday the “Maven” mission, with a launch  scheduled for November 2013, a project which will provide vital information to scientists regarding the history of the Red Planet.  Astrobiologists say the mission is critical in understanding whether there has been life on Mars.

Bruce Jakosky, lead investigator of the “Maven” project stated that “A better understanding of the upper atmosphere and the role that escape to space has played is required to plug a major hole in our understanding of Mars.”

He also added “We’re really excited about having the opportunity to address these fundamental science questions.”

For the upcoming 2013 mission, there will be 3 scientific instruments to be launched to Mars aboard the craft, as mandatory tools for the project.

There are various strange features of Mars, minerals and ancient riverbeds, which could only take shape in the presence of liquid. NASA stated that the planet “once had a denser atmosphere, which supported the presence of liquid water on the surface”.

Nonetheless, almost the entire atmosphere of the planet was lost, due to a sudden climate change.

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