With Curiosity, "we're painting the story from the ground up of how that may have happened. MAVEN will begin studying the atmosphere from the top down, watching in real-time as the sun continues to erode away the atmosphere. Together, the two missions will help us understand early Mars," Vasavada said.
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MAVEN arrived at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida last week to begin preparations for launch November. It is due to arrive in Mars orbit in September 2014.
"I think it's very, very important that this mission takes place," Jorge Vago, project scientist for the upcoming European Space Agency ExoMars life-detection mission, told Discovery News.
"It's going to have great impact on our understanding, probably not only of Mars, but also of Venus and Earth," Vago said.
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European Space Agency scientists are planning to use the Mars Express orbiter for collaborative studies with MAVEN, he added.