On August 12, 2005, NASA blasted off the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter from Florida’s Cape Canaveral atop an Atlas V spaceship. After more than ten years in space, MRO has established one of the most productive Martian orbiters of NASA, having mapped Mars in notable detail. To celebrate its fifteen centenaries of being in space, below are some tremendous milestones from this incredible operation.
- March 24, 2007: MRO takes a picture of the Nili Fossae province
The augment color picture, taken by the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera in March 2007, reveals a region of the Nili Fossae area. The view was part of a series of tests to study more than 24 possible landing locations for NASA’s Curiosity traveler.
- February 19, 2008: Viewing an avalanche
A picture of a massive storm on the Red Planet, captured by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter after MRO revisited the Mars terrain at the north Antarctic cap in the Martian spring, scientists anticipated research on how frosts of the carbon dioxide evaporate from the core dunes.
It resulted as a surprise after a picture from HiRISE took not less than four separate storms rumbling down an encrusted cliff face that is more than 700 meters (2,296 feet tall. Additional observations proved that similar winds persist in Martian spring, and are possibly triggered after the dust-laden dry ice crumples as iced up carbon dioxide and gradually thaws.
- March 23, 2008: Phobos flyby
The MRO group turned away the HiRISE camera from the Red Planet to picture its two satellites, Deimos and Phobos, at the premier resolution yet acquired. The bigger of the two moons, Phobos, orbits nearer to the Red Planet, spinning the planet one time every seven hours and forty minutes.
Observed in the picture from 6,800 kilometers (4,200 miles), the lunar most remarkable feature that has a potato shape is a crater named Stickney. The probing grooves that seem to emit from the hole and run correspondingly with the longer axis of the moon are believed to be stress fractures, resulting from Martian tidal forces pull and push on the satellite.
- February 4, 2009: Spiders from the Red Planet
One of the most impressive MRO discoveries is the unique, organic-appearing patterns that build up in spring at the perimeter of the south Antarctic cap. Resembling spiders or trees and those dark patterns are also referred to as starbursts.
- Dec. 18, 2008: Finding the carbs
Before the arrival of the MRO, a key question for the group of researchers was nature of water which run on planet’s surface in its past. On Earth, water action on the rocks does change them into the carbonate minerals including chalk as well as limestone through the weathering process, but the acidic water usually tends to dissolve the carbonates.
- June 25, 2010: The Mars’ wet north
The ancient hydrated minerals found in southern highlands had a disappointing dry history. By the use of the CRISM spectrometer, the researchers focused on various craters as well as identified several signatures from the hydrated, claylike minerals. Crater appeared to have punctured through overlying dry soil to be able to expose ancient layer below that showed evidence that the watery, as well as hospitable conditions, were at one time global, likely four billion years ago.