U.S. launched a probe to explore Martian atmosphere.
On November 18, 2013 at 18:28 UTC the "Atlas-5” rocket-carrier was launched from Cape Canaveral launch site of US Air Force. The launch was performed by United Launch Alliance supported by the 45th Space Wing of US Air Force. The rocket equipped with the "Centaur” booster orbited MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN) probe. The trip to Mars will take 10 months, and the 671-million-U.S.- dollar MAVEN is expected to reach orbit around Mars in September 2014. MAVEN has a one-Earth-year primary mission, during which it will make measurements in all regions of "near-Mars" space, including five deep dip maneuvers, descending to an altitude of 120 kilometers, the lower boundary of the planet's upper atmosphere. The spacecraft will investigate how the loss of Mars' atmosphere to space determined the history of water on the surface. Maven is the 10th orbiter the U.S. space agency sends to Mars, but three of them failed. Currently, there are three other active spacecraft orbiting the Red Planet: Mars Odyssey launched in 2001, the European Space Agency's Mars Express launched in 2003 and NASA 's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter launched in 2005. NASA also has two active rovers currently studying Mars on the planet's surface: Opportunity launched in 2003 and Curiosity, the last NASA mission launched in 2011.