Related topics: nasa · spacecraft · mars · red planet

Mars Express unlocks the secrets of curious cloud

When spring arrives in southern Mars, a cloud of water ice emerges near the 20-kilometer-tall Arsia Mons volcano, rapidly stretching out for many hundreds of kilometers before fading away in mere hours. A detailed long-term ...

What geologists see when they look at Perseverance's landing site

Geologists love fieldwork. They love getting their specialized hammers and chisels into seams in the rock, exposing unweathered surfaces and teasing out the rock's secrets. Mars would be the ultimate field trip for many of ...

NASA's Mars helicopter reports in

Mission controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California have received the first status report from the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, which landed Feb. 18, 2021, at Jezero Crater attached to the belly of ...

A combined map of almost 15,000 dust storms on Mars

Data in the world of astronomy is spread out in so many different places. There are archives for instruments on individual spacecraft and telescopes. Sometimes all that is needed to get new insight out of old data is to collect ...

Melting dusty ice may have carved Martian gullies

By analyzing the occurrences of exposed dusty ice on Mars using data from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, ASU planetary scientists Aditya Khuller and Philip Christensen have found the lowest latitude detection of dusty ...

Here's the best place for explorers to harvest ice on Mars

Water ice, especially any located in the sub-surface, has long been a focal point of Mars exploration efforts. Reasons abound as to why—from the need to grow plants to the need to create more rocket fuel to blast off the ...

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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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