Related topics: nasa · spacecraft · mars · red planet

Beautiful dunes on Mars, sculpted by swirling winds

This interesting image from the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows a field of fascinating dunes called barchan dunes. These dunes have formed along a cliff in Chasma Boreale, in the North Pole of Mars.

NASA extends exploration for 8 planetary science missions

Following a thorough evaluation, NASA has extended the planetary science missions of eight of its spacecraft due to their scientific productivity and potential to deepen our knowledge and understanding of the solar system ...

Citizen scientists help map ridge networks on Mars

Over the last two decades, scientists have discovered unusual ridge networks on Mars using images from spacecraft orbiting the Red Planet. How and why the ridges formed and what clues they may provide about the history of ...

NASA's InSight enters safe mode during regional Mars dust storm

NASA's InSight lander is stable and sending health data from Mars to Earth after going into safe mode Friday, Jan. 7, following a large, regional dust storm that reduced the sunlight reaching its solar panels. In safe mode, ...

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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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