New Mars mission in final assembly stage

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New Mars mission in final assembly stage

This article is facinating the most sophisitcated mission yet. Makes you wonder what all the haste is about...

 http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mr...

"Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is a quantum leap in our spacecraft and instrument capabilities at Mars," said James Graf, the mission's project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

"Weighing 2,180 kilograms [4,806 pounds] at launch, the spacecraft will be the largest ever to orbit Mars. The data rate from the orbiter at Mars back to Earth will be three times faster than a high-speed residential telephone line. This rate will enable us to return a tremendous amount of data and dramatically increase our understanding of this mysterious planet."

The largest telescopic camera ever sent into orbit around another planet, called the high resolution imaging science experiment, will reveal Mars surface features as small as a kitchen table. Ball Aerospace, Boulder, Colo., is building it for the University of Arizona, Tucson. The orbiter will also carry three other cameras. Two come from Malin Space Sciences, San Diego: the context camera for wide-swath, high-resolution pictures, and the Mars multi-color imager with its fish-eye lens for tracking changes in weather and variations in atmospheric ozone. An optical navigation camera from JPL will use positions of Mars' two moons to demonstrate precision navigation for future missions.
By netchicken: posted on 24-8-2004








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