NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Enters Mars Orbit After 10 Month Journey

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NASA's MAVEN spacecraft hitched a ride on an Atlas V launch vehicle on November 18th of last year. Now, just over 10 months later, it's finally about to reach its objective: orbiting Mars. Watch along as it closes in on success. [Update: We have orbit!]

While the video below will doesn't offer a live feed from MAVEN—this isn't the kind of situation where you strap on a GoPro and hope for the best—it gives plenty of details about MAVEN, its journey, its mission, and its design. And it's the best seat in the house for when orbit is achieved.

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

What happens now? So glad you asked! MAVEN's going to spend its year-long Martian vacation studying the atmosphere, and how it's affected by solar activity. All of which might sound dry—there are lots of fancy-sounding instruments like a magnetometer and solar wind electron analyzer—but is significantly less so when explained by LeVar Burton (for some reason).

Well done, NASA! Now just send some humans over there and figure out a way for them to survive. Piece of cake.