MarsNews.com

NASA Orbiter Provides Color Views of Mars Landing Site Candidates NASA

Less than a year since beginning the prime science phase of its mission, NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has passed a mission-success milestone for the amount of data returned.
The data-volume target of 26 terabytes, which was surpassed this week, is equivalent to about 5,000 CD-ROMs full and exceeds the total from all other current and past Mars missions combined. The biggest shares of the data come from two of the orbiter’s six science instruments: the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment and the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars. The high-resolution camera’s team of investigators, based at the University of Arizona, Tucson, today released 143 color images. The images reveal features as small as a desk. They are valuable to researchers studying possible landing sites for NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory, a mission launching in 2009 to deploy a long-distance rover carrying sophisticated science instruments on Mars.