Sunday, December 03, 2006

Superb new images from Mars

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is well into the science phase of its mission, using the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE)camera to return images of unprecedented detail, down to as close as 1 meter resolutions. Aside from the wealth of scientific information to be returned, a recent image has spotted the impact point of the Opportunity rover, with the remains of the heatshield and parachute also spotted nearby. Over the next couple of weeks, the camera will be looking for "all the easy-to-find hardware on Mars," says Professor Alfred S. McEwen of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona. That includes NASA's rover Spirit, the Viking 1 and Viking 2 landers, and Mars Pathfinder. You can see the Opportunity image here or see all images here. The team intends to release new images every Wednesday.