NASA has given a thumbs-up in its mission confirmation review process for the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (Maven) project, heading it toward a 2013 launch. Built by Lockheed Martin, the spacecraft will orbit the planet and probe its upper atmosphere to study its interactions with the solar wind. Its aim is to learn more about the disappearance of the atmospheric shield that once allowed liquid water to flow across Mars’s ruddy surface. The dry riverbeds that give evidence of ...


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