NASA's newest robotic explorer is on its way to Mars - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

NASA's newest robotic explorer is on its way to Mars

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(WVVA) – NASA's newest robotic explorer is on its way to Mars.

"Maven" blasted off from Cape Canaveral aboard an unmanned rocket at 1:28 p.m. Monday.

The spacecraft will take ten months to reach Mars and will travel more than 440 million miles.

While this is NASA's 21st mission to Mars since the 1960's, it is the first one devoted to studying the Martian Upper Atmosphere.

 Scientists want to know why Mars went from being warm and wet during the first billion years, and possibly able to support life, to being cold and dry today.

The orbiter's name, "Maven" is an acronym that stands for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution.

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