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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Doing Well

Artist's conception of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Artist's conception of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Credit: NASA
NASA has announced that the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has nearly passed its first in-flight test, of the MARs Color Imager (MARCI), built by Malin Space Science Systems, a company that has been extremely active in recent Mars missions. While the pictures, a view of Earth and the Moon that only occupies a few pixels of the high-resolution pictures, have not been analyzed yet, everything else worked flawlessly. This is good news for an important mission.

Upon beginning the science phase of its mission in November 2006, the MRO will return hopefully spectacular images of the surface from low Martian orbit, as well as analyze ozone levels in the atmosphere and act as a relay for other missions, such as Odyssey and the MGS do today for the Mars Exploration Rovers. All told, the MRO should return several times more data than all previous missions to Mars combined.

(More info: Red Nova, NASA's MRO Site)

- posted by Brian @ 20:46 EST