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NASA has selected a Mars robotic mission that will provide information about the Red Planet’s atmosphere, climate history and potential habitability in greater detail than ever before.
Called the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft, the $485 million mission is scheduled for launch in late 2013. The selection was evaluated to have the best science value and lowest implementation risk from 20 mission investigation proposals submitted in response to a NASA Announcement of Opportunity in August 2006.
“This mission will provide the first direct measurements ever taken to address key scientific questions about Mars’ evolution,” said Doug McCuistion, director of the Mars Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington.