MAVEN ends 10-month trip to orbit Mars

The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, or MAVEN, is now in an orbit over Mars' North Pole. (NBC/RTV)

LITTLETON, Colo. (NBC/RTV) — A NASA spacecraft is orbiting Mars Monday. Late Sunday, the robotic craft fired thrusters to slow itself down to end a 10-month trip and began orbiting the Red Planet.

The craft traveled 442 million miles. The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, or MAVEN, is now in an orbit over Mars’ North Pole.

The flight control team began celebrating Sunday night after it received signals confirming the craft was in a Mars orbit.

“All I can say at this point is, we are on orbit of Mars, guys,” said Bruce Jakosky, who is on the MAVEN Mission. “And we’ve taken 11 years to get here, and now we get to do the science that we have been planning for all this time.”

MAVEN will gradually lower its altitude and then begin studying solar wind forces on the planet.

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