Nov. 15 - NASA scientists are hoping the MAVEN spacecraft will help them better understand the red planet. Deborah Gembara reports.
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At Cape Canaveral, they're doing all the final checks on MAVEN, the spacecraft NASA scheduled to launch to Mars on Monday.
Scientists hope the robotic probe will help them figure out what caused the red planet's atmosphere to change so dramatically.
Maven Project Manager David Mitchell.
SOUNDBITE: DAVID MITCHELL, NASA MAVEN PROJECT MANAGER, SAYING:
"Why did it go from a wetter, Earth-like environment with a thicker atmosphere to where it is today, much more dry and thin atmosphere? So they've pulled together a series of instruments that really will go after, I'll say a missing piece of the puzzle of the Mars story, which is, many missions with Rovers, with other orbiters that are up there, they've been more focused on the surface and what's going on on the surface of Mars, where this one is devoted to understanding the upper atmosphere at Mars, understanding it over a period of time of a year to understand how it's changed and then being able to project back in time."
Scientists say MAVEN's findings could open the door to a more intimate survey of Mars.
SOUNDBITE: GEOFFREY YODER, NASA SCIENCE MISSION DIRECTORATE, SAYING:
"Of course, human mission to Mars is our ultimate destination in the solar system, for humanity as well as a priority for NASA."
The robotic probe is expected to reach Mars on September 22nd of next year.
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