Today marks exactly 10 years since NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) arrived at Mars and began its journey of breathtaking discovery. It’s impossible to exaggerate the effect that the MRO has had on our understanding of Mars. Among MRO’s contributions to our knowledge of Mars is the (possible) detection of liquid water, an understanding of the seasonal changes on Mars, and the identification of underground geological structures.
To top it all off, MRO has produced some great Martian eye candy.
Martian Eye Candy: A beautiful picture of some dunes on the surface of Mars. Thanks MRO! (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona)
These kinds of discoveries are directly attributable to the mission’s longevity, and to the productivity of the science instruments aboard the orbiter. MRO’s 6 science instruments are still functioning 7 years after the principal science phase of the mission was completed.
MRO still has an important role to play, as an advance scout for rover missions and human missions. And, of course, it’s still doing important science work.
For more information on MRO’s contributions, and some great infographic summaries, visit NASA’s MRO Ten Years of Discovery Page.