NASA shares incredible pictures of Mars captured by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to celebrate its 15th anniversary

FP Trending
·2-min read

On 12 August 2005, NASA launched its Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The orbiter has since then sent back about 385 terabits of data and remains active to this day to carry on its mission on Mars.

Sent with the task of studying temperatures of the Martian atmosphere and collecting information about the minerals present on the planet's surface, the MRO has also sent back some breathtaking images. To celebrate 15 years of its launch, NASA posted some of the most astounding pictures taken by the HiRISE camera on the MRO.

While one picture showcases an avalanche in action, another shows a dust devil making its way over the Martian surface. A crater created on Mars and migrating landforms are the subjects of the other pictures.

There are three cameras aboard the orbiter:

  • The Mars Color Imager (MARCI), which is tasked with the duty of capturing a global view daily;

  • The Context Camera (CTX), which provides 30-kilometer-wide black and white terrain shots;

  • The High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE), which is responsible for capturing "tightly focused images".

These images are then managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California.

Through the years, HiRISE has captured some "dramatic scenes of nature" like skyscraping dust devils, avalanches and changing landscapes. These were possible due to the extreme zoom-in capability of the camera that manages to capture detailed, high-resolution colour images of Mars. Since 2006, HiRISE has alone sent back 6,882,204 images.

The orbiter has managed to capture the multiple spacecrafts - Spirit, Opportunity as well as the Curiosity rover - trekking and exploring Mars.

According to NASA, when its latest rover Perseverance reaches the Jezero Crater on 18 February 2021, we will be sure to get some close-up shots of the craft via HiRISE.

Also See: NASA’s fifth and finest Mars rover Perseverance lifts off successfully in spite of tremors, delays, COVID-19 lockdown

NASA's Perseverance rover: Getting to Mars is easy, it’s the stopping that can kill you

Tree-like MOXIE on NASA's Perseverance rover will turn carbon dioxide into oxygen on Mars

Read more on science by Firstpost.