Today (November 18) at 1:28 p.m. EST (1728 UTC), NASA will launch its Mars MAVEN mission toward the red planet Mars.
After decades of tantalizing evidence, NASA scientists want to find out what happened to the water on Mars. It seems that, when Mars was young – billions of years ago – it had a thick atmosphere and water. It was warm enough, in fact, to support oceans of water. And oceans of water might have meant the emergence of life on Mars.
But today Mars is a dry, cold, desert world. NASA’s Mars MAVEN mission – the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution – is aimed at finding out why. Today, we’ll be saying bon voyage to this spacecraft. For now, enjoy the video below from Mars, which conceptualizes Mars’ evolution from a warm, wet world – perhaps much like Earth – to a dry desert.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.