DENVER (AP) – NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver has come to Colorado for a close-up view of the next spacecraft to launch to Mars.

Garver visited Lockheed Martin in Littleton on Monday to check out the spacecraft that is set to launch next year as part of the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, or MAVEN, mission. It will orbit Mars to explore how the sun may have stripped it of most of its atmosphere.

Lockheed Martin is building the spacecraft.

Garver also saw a heat shield Lockheed Martin is building for the Orion vehicle that will carry astronauts farther into space than ever before. Orion will be flexible enough to take NASA astronauts to a variety of destinations, including Mars.

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Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle (credit: Lockheed-Martin)