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Nasa’s Maven nears Mars orbit

Mars may be getting crowded, with the planet looking as the destination of choice for the rest of the decade. Nasa orbiter, too, is quickly approaching Mars orbit on a mission to study its upper atmosphere. Nasa’s $ 671-million Maven is scheduled to enter Mars orbit on Sunday night (US time) after a 10-month sojourn. The red planet already has on its surface Nasa’s two robotic rovers, and two orbiters circling Mars, plus the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter.  The planet also holds the wreckage of Nasa’s Mars Polar Lander and Europe’s Beagle 2, reminders of Mars mission mishaps. Roughly half of all spacecraft sent to the planet have crashed or gone off track.

And then there’s space entrepreneur Elon Musk of the SpaceX fame, who dreams of having human colonists on the Red planet.     

The planet also holds the wreckage of NASA’s Mars Polar Lander and Europe’s Beagle 2, reminders of Mars mission mishaps: Roughly half of all spacecraft sent to the planet have crashed or gone off track.

And then there’s space entrepreneur Elon Musk of the SpaceX fame, who dreams of having human colonists on the Red planet.

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