2005 Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) was intended to orbit Mars over a full Martian year (687 days) and gather data and images with six instruments, including a high-resolution imager. Its research objectives include the climate of Mars, investigate surface features on Mars and in particular, investigate the presence and activity of water on Mars, above and below surface, and present and past hydrothermal activity on the planet. It should identify and investigate potential landing sites for future Mars missions, and serve as communication relay for future Mars landing missions.

Developed since 2002, the MRO spacecraft was successfully launched on August 12, 2005, 7:43 a.m. EDT by an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, Pad 41. After an about seven-month interplanetary cruise, it arrived at Mars on March 10, 2006. After successful Mars Orbit Insertion, it entered a highly-excentric orbit, and used aerobraking techniques to adjust its orbit to a lower, semi-circular orbit for data collection, a process which lasted from March to November, 2006. Since, it is conducting its science mission.

During MRO's science mission, the spacecraft does studies of Mars from orbit, including high-resolution measurements and images with a resolution of 20 to 30 cm. This included, in particular, photographs of old and new Mars landers and rovers. It also served as communications relay for later Mars landers Phoenix in 2008 and Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory, MSL) in 2012; it also obtained photos of these spacecraft during and after landing.

MRO Patch

Hartmut Frommert [contact]

[Mars] | [Spider] @ [SEDS]

Last Modification: August 20, 2012