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Latest Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Stories

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2006-10-16 15:40:00

For a number of decades now, astronomers have wondered about water on Mars. Thanks to ESA's Mars Express, much of the speculation has been replaced with facts. Launched on 2 June 2003, Mars Express has changed the way we think of Mars. Since the Viking missions of the 1970s, planetary scientists have changed their perception of water on Mars several times, passing from the picture of a dry planet to that of a warmer and wetter one. Mars Express's data are now shading a new light on the...

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2006-10-16 15:15:00

During its first week of observations from low orbit, NASA's newest Mars spacecraft is already revealing new clues about both recent and ancient environments on the red planet. Scientists hope the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will answer questions about the history and distribution of Mars' water by combining data from the orbiter's high-resolution camera, imaging spectrometer, context camera, ground-penetrating radar, atmospheric sounder, global color camera, radio and accelerometers....

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2006-10-06 16:00:00

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Scientists said Friday they are plotting the next move for the Mars rover Opportunity, which reached the edge of a deep and geologically rich crater last week after a marathon trek. The six-wheel robot spent its first week at Victoria Crater acting like a tourist, snapping pictures of the half-mile-wide jagged crevasse filled with dramatic cliffs of thickly layered rocks, which hold clues about the Martian past. New aerial images snapped by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter,...

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2006-10-06 11:45:00

With stunningly powerful vision, the HiRISE camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has taken a remarkable picture that shows the exploration rover Opportunity poised on the rim of Victoria crater on Mars. The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera detailed the entire 800-meter (roughly half-mile) Victoria crater and the rover -- down to its rover tracks and shadows -- in a single high-resolution image taken Wednesday (Oct. 3). Alfred S. McEwen of the University of...

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2006-09-30 10:00:00

Mars is ready for its close-up. The highest-resolution camera ever to orbit Mars is returning low-altitude images to Earth from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Rocks and surface features as small as armchairs are revealed in the first image from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter since the spacecraft maneuvered into its final, low-altitude orbital path. The imaging of the red planet at this resolution heralds a new era in Mars exploration. The image of a small fraction of Mars' biggest...

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2006-09-25 09:40:00

ESA's Mars Express has obtained images of the Cydonia region, site of the famous 'Face on Mars.' The High Resolution Stereo Camera photos include some of the most spectacular views of the Red Planet ever. After multiple attempts to image the Cydonia region from April 2004 until July 2006 were frustrated by altitude and atmospheric dust and haze, the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board Mars Express finally obtained, on 22 July, a series of images that show the famous 'face' on Mars...

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2006-09-20 15:10:00

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has extended the long-armed antenna of its radar, preparing the instrument to begin probing for underground layers of Mars. The orbiter's Shallow Subsurface Radar, provided by the Italian Space Agency, will search to depths of about one kilometer (six-tenths of a mile) to find and map layers of ice, rock and, if present, liquid water. The radar's antenna had remained safely folded and tucked away throughout the flight to Mars from Aug. 12, 2005, to March...

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2006-09-12 22:05:00

JPL - NASA's newest spacecraft at Mars has completed the challenging half-year task of shaping its orbit to the nearly circular, low-altitude pattern from which it will scrutinize the planet. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter fired its six intermediate-size thrusters for 12.5 minutes Monday afternoon, Sept. 11, shifting the low point of its orbit to stay near the Martian south pole and the high point to stay near the north pole.  The altitude of the orbit ranges from 250 kilometers (155...

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2006-09-06 17:00:00

NASA's Mars rover Opportunity is closing in on what may be the grandest overlook and richest science trove of its long mission. During the next two weeks, the robotic geologist is likely to reach the rim of a hole in the Martian surface wider and deeper than any it has visited. The crater, known as "Victoria," is approximately 750 meters (half a mile) wide and 70 meters (230 feet) deep. Images from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor orbiter show the crater walls expose a stack of rock layers...

2006-08-31 07:33:12

Nearly six months after it entered orbit, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has concluded its aerobraking phase. The spacecraft had been dipping in and out of the Red Planet's atmosphere to adjust its orbit. On August 30, 2006, during its 445th orbit, the spacecraft fired its intermediate thrusters to raise the low point of its orbit and stop dipping into the atmosphere. The six-minute engine burn began at 10:36 a.m. PST, altering the spacecraft's course so that its periapsis (the closest it...