New Mars Probe Sends Back View From Orbit

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New Mars Probe Sends Back View From Orbit

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LOS ANGELES - A high-resolution camera aboard NASA's latest spacecraft to reach Mars sent back its first view of the Red Planet from orbit, the space agency said Friday.

The crisp test image from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter was taken late Thursday at an altitude of 1,547 miles and shows a 30.9-mile-by-11.7-mile area of the planet's mid-latitude southern highlands. The mosaic of 10 side-by-side exposures shows a cratered surface with ravine- or canyon-like channels on both sides.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said the smallest discernible objects are about 25 feet across, but that the camera will be able to capture images of objects less than three feet across once it reaches its much lower "mapping orbit."

The quality bodes well for future pictures, said Alfred McEwen of the University of Arizona, principal investigator for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera.

"The performance of the spacecraft looks superb, there's certainly no obvious smear here," he said in a telephone interview. "They have pointed us and oriented us just right to get unsmeared images."

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First photos are sent back from Mars probe. It will be nice to see the closer images to come soon.

mars.jpg - 26.63kb
By YCON: posted on 25-3-2006

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