First pictures from new Mars probe

The first detailed pictures from the latest probe to go into orbit around Mars were sent back to Earth yesterday.
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took four photos with its HiRISE camera – the most powerful ever sent to another planet.
And Nasa scientists were delighted as they arrived after being radioed across space to the project’s HQ at Tucson, Arizona.
Principal Investigator Alfred McEwen said: “I am VERY happy! They are sharp, clear, and beautiful!”
Colleague Chris Okubo said: “We’re seeing brand new details – things never seen before. Craters only 20ft wide are very sharp and clear.”
The picture, above right, shows detail from the first picture received.
The space probe will take a second set of photos this afternoon.
But after that, the camera will be switched off for six months while the £280million Nasa spaceprobe uses a technique called aerobraking to slow down.
This involves dipping repeatedly into Mars’s upper atmosphere to lose speed and get into a more circular orbit.
The probe, which arrived at Mars on March 11, is the most complex ever sent to the planet – and it carries British experiments.
It is Mars’s first weather satellite because it will record data about the climate for UK Professor Fred Taylor and colleagues at Oxford, Cardiff and Reading universities.

© Paul Sutherland. Unauthorised reproduction forbidden.

Paul Sutherland

Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.
Paul Sutherland

Get free Skymania news updates by email

Sign up for alerts to our latest reports. No spam ever - we promise!


Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *