Probe to give fresh insights into the Red Planet
A NASA spacecraft has successfully slipped into orbit around Mars, joining other orbiters already circling the Red Planet. Scientists cheered as the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) emerged from the planet’s shadow.
The two-ton spacecraft is the most sophisticated to arrive at Mars and is expected to gather more data than all previous Martian missions combined. It will explore Mars in low orbit for four years and should produce detailed information about the planet, its climate and landscape. The $720 million mission is part of NASA's Mars Exploration Program. MRO will join Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity and fellow orbiters Mars Odyssey and Mars Global Surveyor and the European Space Agency's Mars Express.
Later this year, the orbiter will begin exploring the Martian atmosphere. It will scan the surface for evidence that water has been present and scout for future landing sites to send robotic and possibly human explorers. The mission is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
Related: NASA, National Geographic
Tags: Mars, Space, Science, NASA, Technology, Education by Sistrunk