MAVEN Spacecraft Orbiting Mars Artist's Conception

CREDIT: LASP

NASA’s next mission to Mars set to explore the Red Planet’s atmosphere is getting ready to launch on Monday (Nov. 18).

The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution spacecraft (called MAVEN for short) is expected to investigate how the ancient Red Planet shifted from being a warm, wet world to the cold desert it is today.

“A maven is a trusted expert based on an accumulation of knowledge who seeks to pass that knowledge onto others,” John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for the science mission directorate at NASA, said during a news conference on Oct. 28. “MAVEN, like its entomological origin, will indeed establish the knowledge on which scientists can build a story of the Mars atmosphere and help future human explorers who journey to Mars and the Mars surface.” [NASA’s MAVEN Mission to Mars (Photos)]

via NASA’s Next Mars Probe Set to Launch Monday | Space.com.