NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter left Earth 15 years ago on August 12th. The spacecraft is specially designed to study the geology and climate of Red Planet. It was launched on August 12, 2005 and it reached Mars on March 10, 2006.
NASA took to its Twitter and shared a couple of photos with a caption, "Beautiful Mars! Our Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter launched 15 years ago today to study the Red Planet’s atmosphere, weather, subsurface water, and more. But the mission might best be known for the images sent by its High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera." Here is the tweet.
Beautiful Mars! Our Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter launched 15 years ago today to study the Red Planet’s atmosphere, weather, subsurface water, and more. But the mission might best be known for the images sent by its @HiRISE camera: https://t.co/Z7pOAes4tA pic.twitter.com/i1UdmO9FY2— NASA (@NASA) August 12, 2020
MRO has three cameras: The Mars Color Imager (MARCI) has a lens with a fisheye that provides a global view of the day. The Context Camera (CTX) offers black and white terrain shots measuring 19-mile long. Such images offer context for the closely focused images generated by MRO 's third camera, the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE), which produces the most striking views.
HiRISE has caught avalanches in action. Such 1,640-foot-tall (500-meter-tall) cliffs at the north pole of Mars started to collapse as the seasonal ice vaporized in springtime. These cliffs expose the planet's deep time scales, revealing the layers of ice and dust that have accumulated over the different ages.
Mars has a thin atmosphere just 1% as dense as the atmosphere of Earth. There is less of a defensive shield to burn up space debris. This ensures the large meteors make it into the atmosphere of Mars than that of Earth. CTX has found over 800 new impact craters.
The crater extends about 100 feet ( 30 meters) in diameter and is surrounded by an large, rayed blast zone. Scientists can learn more about the impact event by studying the distribution of ejecta, the debris that was thrown out during crater formation. The explosion that formed this crater threw ejecta at up to 15 kilometers (9.3 miles).
After NASA's tweet, the Twitterati got fascinated by the news. One Twitter user wrote, Wow beautiful mind-boggling interesting I hope we find what we're looking for out in space as a human species to know we're not the only ones actually out here Cindy from Orlando Florida MetroWest."
Another user tweeted as, "Beautiful. The discovery of life on Mars, either in the form of ancient fossils or subterranean reservoirs, would be one of the most momentous breakthroughs in human history. flourished in the past, implying that, at the very least, life can strike twice in the universe."