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NASA's New Mars Camera Gives Dramatic View of Planet

Sunday, October 1, 2006

Mars is ready for its close-up. The highest-resolution camera ever to orbit Mars is returning low-altitude images to Earth from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Rocks and surface features as small as armchairs are revealed in the first image from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter since the spacecraft maneuvered into its final, low-altitude orbital path. The imaging of the red planet at this resolution heralds a new era in Mars exploration.

HiRISE image
The high resolution camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured its first image of Mars in the mapping orbit, demonstrating the full resolution capability, on Sept. 29, 2006. The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) acquired this image at 8:16 AM (Pacific Time), and parts of the image became available to the HiRISE team at 1:30 PM. With the spacecraft at an altitude of 280 kilometers (174 miles), the image scale is 29.7 centimeters per pixel (about 12 inches per pixel). Credit: NASA/JPL/UA

The image of a small fraction of Mars' biggest canyon reached Earth on Friday, the beginning of a week of tests for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment and other instruments on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

"We are elated at the sharpness of the image, revealing such fine detail in the landscape," said Dr. Alfred McEwen of the University of Arizona, Tucson, who is the principal investigator for this camera. The target area includes the deepest part of Ius Chasma, one portion of the vast Valles Marineris canyon. Valles Marineris is the largest known canyon in the solar system, as long as the distance from California to New York.

More: NASA Mission News - NASA's New Mars Camera Gives Dramatic View of Planet

Digital "Guide to Lunar Orbiter Photographs" (NASA SP-242) Available!

Sunday, October 1, 2006

NASA SP-242 - Guide to Lunar Orbiter Photographs (PDF, 99MB): Download a digital version of the 1970 NASA publication, Guide to Lunar Orbiter Photographs (NASA SP-242). This document can be viewed with the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.