November 26, 2008
Mars scientists will present dramatic images and key findings from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter at a free evening program in Pasadena on Thursday, Dec. 4, celebrating completion of the mission's first two-year science phase.
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has already collected more data than all other past and current Mars missions combined. Its findings point to a complex history of climate change on the Red Planet, both early in its history and in more recent times.
The orbiter has cameras examining Mars at scales from revealing details the size of a desk to providing daily weather observations of the entire planet. Other instruments map minerals on the surface, probe with radar beneath the surface and monitor the atmosphere.
The public program will being at 7 p.m. Dec. 4 in the von Karman Auditorium at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 4800 Oak Grove Dr., Pasadena. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter project for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington.
JPL's Richard Zurek and Suzanne Smrekar, the project scientist and deputy project scientist for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, will introduce the evening's program. Featured presenters will be Roger Phillips of the Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colo., deputy team leader for the orbiter's Shallow Subsurface Radar; Scott Murchie of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md., principal investigator for the orbiter's Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars; and Candice Hansen of JPL, deputy principal investigator for the orbiter's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera.
Some examples of images taken by that high-resolution camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter are shots of an active avalanche (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA10245), the landing of NASA's Phoenix spacecraft (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA10705); gullies (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA10001); and tracks of the Opportunity rover at Victoria Crater (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA09692).
Thousands more examples are on the camera team's Web site, http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/ .
More information about the mission is available at http://marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/mro/ . Directions to JPL are available at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/about_JPL/maps.cfm .
JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter project for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The Italian Space Agency provided the Shallow Subsurface Radar.