Related topics: nasa · spacecraft · mars · red planet

Mars terraforming not possible using present-day technology

Science fiction writers have long featured terraforming, the process of creating an Earth-like or habitable environment on another planet, in their stories. Scientists themselves have proposed terraforming to enable the long-term ...

Steep slopes on Mars reveal structure of buried ice

Researchers using NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) have found eight sites where thick deposits of ice beneath Mars' surface are exposed in faces of eroding slopes.

Recurring martian streaks: flowing sand, not water?

Dark features on Mars previously considered evidence for subsurface flowing of water are interpreted by new research as granular flows, where grains of sand and dust slip downhill to make dark streaks, rather than the ground ...

Mars volcano, Earth's dinosaurs went extinct about the same time

New NASA research reveals that the giant Martian shield volcano Arsia Mons produced one new lava flow at its summit every 1 to 3 million years during the final peak of activity. The last volcanic activity there ceased about ...

Does Mars have rings? Not right now, but maybe one day

As children, we learned about our solar system's planets by certain characteristics—Jupiter is the largest, Saturn has rings, Mercury is closest to the sun. Mars is red, but it's possible that one of our closest neighbors ...

Mars ice deposit holds as much water as Lake Superior

Frozen beneath a region of cracked and pitted plains on Mars lies about as much water as what's in Lake Superior, largest of the Great Lakes, a team of scientists led by The University of Texas at Austin has determined using ...

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Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) is a multipurpose spacecraft designed to conduct reconnaissance and exploration of Mars from orbit.

When MRO entered orbit there were five other spacecraft in orbit of or on Mars: Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Express, Mars Odyssey, and two Mars Exploration Rovers; a then record for most spacecraft operational in Mars vicinity. The $720 million USD spacecraft was built by Lockheed Martin under the supervision of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It was launched August 12, 2005, and attained Martian orbit on March 10, 2006. In November 2006, after five months of aerobraking, it entered its final science orbit and began its primary science phase.

MRO contains a host of scientific instruments such as cameras, spectrometers, and radar, which are used to analyze the landforms, stratigraphy, minerals, and ice of Mars. It paves the way for future spacecraft by monitoring daily weather and surface conditions, studying potential landing sites, and hosting a new telecommunications system. MRO's telecommunications system will transfer more data back to Earth than all previous interplanetary missions combined, and MRO will serve as a highly capable relay satellite for future missions.

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