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NASA’s Maven explorer arrives at Mars after a year

NASA’s Maven spacecraft arrived at Mars late Sunday after a 442 million-mile journey that began nearly a year ago.



FILE – In this Friday, Sept. 27, 2013 file photo, technicians work on NASA’s next Mars-bound spacecraft, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN), at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. NASA’s Maven spacecraft will reach the red planet in September 2014 following a 10-month journey spanning more than 440 million miles. If all goes well, Maven will hit the brakes and slip into Martian orbit Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014.



FILE – In this Nov. 18, 2013 file photo, NASA’s Maven, short for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, with a capital “N” in EvolutioN, atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket, lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Fla. NASA’s Maven spacecraft will reach the red planet in September 2014 following a 10-month journey spanning more than 440 million miles. If all goes well, Maven will hit the brakes and slip into Martian orbit Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014.



In this artist concept provided by NASA, the MAVEN spacecraft approaches Mars on a mission to study its upper atmosphere. When it arrives on Sunday Sept. 21, 2014, MAVEN’s 442 million mile journey from Earth will culminate with a dramatic engine burn, pulling the spacecraft into an elliptical orbit. It’s designed to circle the planet, not land.