Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter – Happy 10th Birthday
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter: NASA Celebrates Spacecraft’s 10 Years in Orbit Around the Red Planet
The MRO was launched on Aug. 12, 2005, and entered Mars’ orbit on March 10, 2006. NASA said the spacecraft has completed about 45,000 orbits around Mars in the last 10 years.
Ten years ago, our Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) began orbiting the Red Planet. Since then, it has delivered huge advances in knowledge about Mars and has also provided crucial support for rover and stationary lander missions on the planet. Details: http://go.nasa.gov/1XeX5iC
Posted by NASA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration on Thursday, March 10, 2016
True to its purpose, the big NASA spacecraft that began orbiting Mars a decade ago this week has delivered huge advances in knowledge about the Red Planet.
NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has revealed in unprecedented detail a planet that held diverse wet environments billions of years ago and remains dynamic today.
One example of MRO’s major discoveries was published last year, about the possibility of liquid water being present seasonally on present-day Mars. It drew on three key capabilities researchers gained from this mission: telescopic camera resolution to find features narrower than a driveway; spacecraft longevity to track seasonal changes over several Martian years; and imaging spectroscopy to map surface composition.
Other discoveries have resulted from additional capabilities of the orbiter. These include identifying underground geologic structures, scanning atmospheric layers and observing the entire planet’s weather daily. All six of the orbiter’s science instruments remain productive in an extended mission more than seven years after completion of the mission’s originally planned primary science phase.
“This mission has helped us appreciate how much Mars — a planet that has changed greatly over time — continues to change today,” said MRO Project Scientist Rich Zurek of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. JPL manages the mission.