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The NASA probe approaches Mars



An American spacecraft moved closer to Mars to act as a telecommunications relay for Marslander and Rover after a two-month orbital retreat on Friday.

The four-year-old spacecraft called Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) Gradually, aerobraking slowed down, a process that used the upper Martian atmosphere to make a small impact on the spacecraft, according to NASA.

"It's like braking a car, instead of a brake pad we used it Mars & # 39; atmosphere," said Stuart Demcak, the navigation team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The lowest altitude of the Orbit of the spacecraft dropped from 1

51 km to about 132 km above the surface of Mars. At this altitude, the atmosphere is so dense that the spacecraft can only be braked with little resistance.

Even the highest point of the orbit dropped from about 6,050 km to about 4,570 km, which improves the availability of MAVEN in support of relays communication with landers and rovers of NASA on the Martian surface. It allowed the MAVEN orbiter to circle the red planet more often and communicate more frequently with the Mars rovers.

Aerobraking Plan for MAVEN./Photo from NASA Website

Aerobraking Plan for MAVEN./Photo from NASA Website

The Data Relay Satellite will work with NASA's Mars 2020 Rover, which will be released in the to start next year.

MAVEN will not be relaying, but will continue to study the structure and composition of the upper Martian atmosphere.

The MAVEN, NASA was launched in November 2013 and has already completed its two-year mission in space. According to NASA, however, it can last until 2030.

(Cover Picture: The Four-Year-Old Spacecraft – Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution.) (MAVEN) / Photo from the NASA website)


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