Related topics: nasa · spacecraft · mars · red planet

Martian snow is dusty, could potentially melt, new study shows

Over the last two decades, scientists have found ice in many locations on Mars. Most Martian ice has been observed from orbital satellites like NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. But determining the grain size and dust content ...

Martian landslides caused by underground salts and melting ice?

A team of researchers led by SETI Institute Senior Research Scientist Janice Bishop, a member of the SETI Institute NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) team, has come up with a theory about what is causing landslides on the ...

Martian landslides not conclusive evidence of ice

Detailed three-dimensional images of an extensive landslide on Mars, which spans an area more than 55 kilometres wide, have been analysed to understand how the unusually large and long ridges and furrows formed about 400 ...

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 ...

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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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