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HiRISE Camera Returns New View of Dark Pit on Mars

Friday, September 7, 2007

dark  pit on mars
HiRISE image of a dark pit seen on Mars. The pit is a vertical shaft that cuts through lava flow on the flank of the Arsia Mons volcano.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

The High Resolution Imaging Experiment (HiRISE) has confirmed that a dark pit seen on Mars in an earlier HiRISE image really is a vertical shaft that cuts through lava flow on the flank of the Arsia Mons volcano. Such pits form on similar volcanoes in Hawaii and are called "pit craters."

More: NASA - Dark Pit on Mars' Arsia Mons, with Sunlit Wall

More: UA News - HiRISE Camera Returns New View of Dark Pit on Mars

More: LPL - HiRISE access images, news, and and instrument information

HiRISE images produced by Cartrite using Isis

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Check out Cartrite's HiRISE Mosaic Images he produced using the Isis3 software package.

HiRISE Releases public PDS data on new Web Site

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

HiRISE Website
New HiRISE Website

HiRISE has just released hundreds of reprocessed images to the Planetary Data System. These are images that have been previously unreleased through their Web site, and are now part of the HiRISE PDS catalog.

The HiRISE Website features a drastic redesign, with some new features to really enhance your browsing experience.


HiRISE camera suffering signal loss

Monday, February 12, 2007 reports: The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) on board Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the newest and most powerful craft to arrive at the red planet, has lost its peripheral vision. And its colour vision is fading too.

Seven of HiRISE's 14 detectors are sending back spurious data, the mission team reports, and one of the four colour detectors has stopped working completely. This has led to only a 2% loss of signal so far, which doesn't sound too bad. But the problem looks set to hit all of the detectors eventually.

More: - Mar's top camera suffers failing eyesight

MRO Pinpoints Mars Pathfinder

Friday, January 12, 2007

Image of Pathfinder mission landing site
Close-up of the Pathfinder Mission landing site.
Image credit: NASA/JPL/Univ. of Arizona

Using the high-resolution camera, HiRISE, on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spacecraft, visual clues such as peaks and craters seen in earlier images, and old-fashioned detective skills, scientists were able to identify the landing site for the 1997 Pathfinder mission's rover Sojourner within a vast landscape of seemingly homogenous Martian terrain.

More: NASA - Pathfinder landing site images from MRO HiRISE camera - several more images, include close-up images showing Pathfinder mission hardware on the surface, landing site topography, and a panorama of the landing site as seen by the lander

Link: MRO HiRISE - see more fantastic images of Mars collected by this camera

Link: USGS Astrogeology and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter using HiRISE - learn more about the our involvement in this mission

Fantastic orbital view of rover Opportunity at Victoria

Friday, October 6, 2006

Victoria Crater
Opportunity at Crater's 'Cape Verde' - MRO HiRISE image showing the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity near the rim of "Victoria Crater."
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/UA

This image from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity near the rim of "Victoria Crater." Victoria is an impact crater about 800 meters (half a mile) in diameter at Meridiani Planum near the equator of Mars. Opportunity has been operating on Mars since January, 2004. Five days before this image was taken, Opportunity arrived at the rim of Victoria, after a drive of more than 9 kilometers (over 5 miles). It then drove to the position where it is seen in this image.

More: NASA - Opportunity at Crater's 'Cape Verde' Read the full press realease and view full resolution image

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

HiRise to the Red Planet

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Newly Released Images

HiRISE images
First MRO HiRISE Image of Mars: Topographic Model from Photoclinometry.

Employees of the USGS Astrogeology Research Program celebrate the public release of the first images productively captured by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment(HiRISE) camera, which is one of six instruments on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).

"I am VERY happy!" said Alfred McEwen, former employee of USGS, Principal Investigator and chief scientist of MRO,while viewing the images. "They are sharp, clear, and beautiful!"

The HiRISE camera is the most powerful telescopic camera ever sent to another planet. It productively took four images of Mars on March 23, 2006. The actual launch of MRO took place August 25, 2005.

Astrogeology Research Program personnel are major players in The HiRISE Operations Center (HiROC) at the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, who are responsible for the majority of the ground data system work for the HiRISE instrument. Astrogeology's programming group is developing software , which will encompass tools for any person who desires to work with HiRise data. Other personnel are co-investigators, coordinators, and leads in varying disciplines that are involved in the observation planning, uplink, downlink, data processing, and instrument monitoring. For example, Randolph Kirk (Co-Investigator geodesy, geometric calibration, and topographic mapping lead) has applied a technique called photoclinometry (or, more descriptively, "shape-from-shading") on a subset of AEB_000001_0000_Red, to produce a preliminary topographic map which covers a portion of this first image of Mars obtained by the HiRISE camera on March 24, 2006. Photoclinometry reveals the details of the smallest topographic features resolved by the image. Elevations can be reconstructed from an image by noting how surfaces sloping toward the sun appear brighter than areas that slope away from it.

Anyone who has seen the newly released HiRISE images will concur that they are simply dynamic! Here is how the images are captured: The HiRISE camera takes the image, and then transfers it to the MRO spacecraft electronics. MRO then sends the image to Earth using radio waves. It takes 13 minutes currently for images to travel to Earth, (the distance between the Earth and Mars varies with time due to their different orbits around the Sun) since radio waves travel at the speed of light. NASA's Deep Space Network receives the image data on Earth using its antennas in California, Spain and Australia, which cover the whole globe. The DSN then sends the images to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who reassembles the images and processes them.

Although we space enthusiasts may have to wait six months for more images, while MRO aerobrakes, we can look forward to user-friendly web tools available to both the science community and the public to view and/or analyze the HiRISE images. One thing interested parties shouldn't wait for is to make an observation request. What's more exciting is that processed images will be released soon after acquisition to allow everyone to share in the scientific HiRise to the Red Planet!

Show me more newly released images.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Successfully Enters Orbit Around Mars!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Celebration photo of the team
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Successfully Enters Orbit Around Mars!

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mission manager Jim Graf raises his arms in celebration of the orbiter's successful entry into orbit around Mars. Behind him is Jet Propulsion Laboratory Director Dr. Charles Elachi, giving the "thumbs up."

Credit: NASA
With a crucially timed firing of its main engines, NASA's new mission to Mars successfully put itself into orbit around the red planet.

The spacecraft, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, will provide more science data than all previous Mars missions combined.

Signals received from the spacecraft at 2:16 p.m. Pacific Time on 10 March 2006, after it emerged from its first pass behind Mars set off cheers and applause in control rooms at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., and at Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver.

"This is a great milestone to have accomplished, but it's just one of many milestones before we can open the champagne," said Colleen Hartman, deputy associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. "Once we are in the prime science orbit, the spacecraft will perform observations of the atmosphere, surface, and subsurface of Mars in unprecedented detail."

The spacecraft traveled about 500 million kilometers (310 million miles) to reach Mars after its launch from Florida on Aug. 12, 2005. It needed to use its main thrusters as it neared the planet in order to slow itself enough for Mars' gravity to capture it. The thruster firing began while the spacecraft was still in radio contact with Earth, but needed to end during a tense half hour of radio silence while the spacecraft flew behind Mars.

More: NASA -Robotic NASA Craft Begins Orbiting Mars for Most-Detailed Exam

MRO is on Its Way to Mars!

Friday, August 12, 2005

NASA's first Atlas V rocket lifts off this morning carrying Mar Reconnaissance Orbiter
Image Credit: USGS Astrogeology/Deborah Lee Soltesz
615x800, 155 KB

Members of the science and mission teams and their families watched the launch from a site at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) this morning as Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) successfully lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida at 7:43:00 a.m EDT. The spacecraft launched from Space Launch Complex 41 aboard NASA's first Atlas V rocket. The MRO is healthy and performing as designed, presently communicating with ground stations and unfurling its solar arrays.

More: SoundSeeing (MP3 Audio, 12 MB) - Experience the excitement before, during, and after the launch. The audio experience takes place at the outdoor launch viewing area at KSC where mission members and their families watched the launch. The recording began several minutes before liftoff, and the chatter of the crowd, various announcers, and the roar of the rocket itself are heard.

More: NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter - view launch video, view image galleries, and learn more about the mission

Link: MRO HiRISE Instrument - Meet the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) team of scientists and technical specialists from the University of Arizona, USGS Astrogeology Research Program, and other universities and organizations; learn more about the fantastic camera which will collect the most detailed images of Mars yet; and find out how you can participate in the mission!

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Preps for Summer Launch

Friday, January 7, 2005

The next major step in Mars Exploration is taking shape with preparation of NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for launch in just seven months. The orbiter is undergoing environmental tests in facilities at Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver, Colo., where its Atlas V launch vehicle is also being prepared. Developments are on schedule for a launch window that begins on Aug. 10. USGS Astrogeology is involved in the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE).

More: JPL - Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Status

Link: ASU - High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment