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View of Argyre Basin from Test of Mars Color Image
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View of Argyre Basin from Test of Mars Color Image

October 2, 2006
The Mars Color Imager (MARCI) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter acquired a seven-band color, wide-angle view of Mars on March 24, 2006, as part of a checkout of the orbiter's payload. This image shows a color composite made from the MARCI red, green, and blue bands. The view looks northward and includes the large Argyre Basin in Mars' southern hemisphere

One use of the test imaging is an opportunity to fine-tune calibrations used for processing the separate bands into "true" color -- as it would appear to a human eye looking down from orbit. Further calibration will be needed. Regular use of MARCI and the other science instruments on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will begin in autumn 2006, after the spacecraft's orbit has been reshaped to a nearly circular, low-altitude path.