Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter blasts off

Aug 12, 2005
A Lockheed Martin Atlas 5 rocket lifts off

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) successfully lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. The spacecraft launched from Space Launch Complex 41 aboard NASA's first Atlas V rocket.

The spacecraft now begins its journey to Mars. The MRO's 'cruise phase' to the planet takes 7 months, followed by 6 months spent refining its orbit using a technique known as 'aerobraking'. During the initial cruise phase, controllers plan to test the satellite's instruments and begin preparations to slow it using the atmosphere of Mars.

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's mission is to see if long-standing bodies of water ever existed on the planet. While missions like the Mars Exploration Rovers have shown that water once flowed across the planet's surface, scientists are yet to determine if it was around long enough to provide a habitat for life.


Explore further: Galaxy clusters collide—dark matter still a mystery

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Helicopter drones on Mars

Mar 18, 2015

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory recently announced that it is developing a small drone helicopter to scout the way for future Mars rovers. Why would Mars rovers need such a robotic guide? The answer is that ...

Scientists fly kites on Earth to study Mars

Mar 16, 2015

An unconventional research method allows for a new look at geologic features on Earth, revealing that some of the things we see on Mars and other planets may not be what they seem.

THEMIS camera helps NASA pick site for next Mars lander

Mar 06, 2015

NASA's next Mars space probe, a lander named InSight, is due to touch down on the Red Planet in September 2016 with a mission focused on the planet's internal properties. Its landing place has been chosen ...

Recommended for you

Russian, American ready for a year in space

3 hours ago

The Russian astronaut heading off for a year in space says he'll miss the natural landscapes on Earth. His American counterpart jokes he won't miss his twin brother.

Galaxy clusters collide—dark matter still a mystery

8 hours ago

When galaxy clusters collide, their dark matters pass through each other, with very little interaction. Deepening the mystery, a study by scientists at EPFL and the University of Edinburgh challenges the ...

Using 19th century technology to time travel to the stars

13 hours ago

In the late 19th century, astronomers developed the technique of capturing telescopic images of stars and galaxies on glass photographic plates. This allowed them to study the night sky in detail. Over 500,000 ...

Image: The colors of sunset over the ISS

15 hours ago

ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti took these images from the International Space Station during her six-month mission. The Progress cargo ship and Soyuz crew spacecraft reflect sunlight as our star sets ...

Feud on Earth but peace in space for US and Russia

18 hours ago

Hundreds of kilometres below on Earth, their governments are locked in a standoff over Ukraine—but up in space, Russian cosmonauts and American astronauts are still working together side by side.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.