MAVEN Arrives at Mars on Sunday

MAVEN Launch

In this Nov. 18, 2013 file photo, NASA’s MAVEN, short for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, with a “N”’ in EvolutioN, atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket, lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, FL

This weekend, NASA’Maven spacecraft will reach the red planet following a 10-month journey spanning 442 million miles. If all goes well, the robotic explorer will hit the brakes and slip into Martian orbit Sunday

“I’m all on pins and needles. This is a critical event,” NASA’s director of planetary science, Jim Green, said Wednesday.

Maven is not designed to land; rather, it will study Mars’ upper atmosphere from orbit.

Read the full story and events happening this Sunday care of MSN.com