NASA Orbiter Ready for Red Planet Science By Tariq Malik
NASA’s latest spacecraft to orbit Mars has already found new clues to the red planet’s changing environment, and the best is yet to come, mission managers said Monday.
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) is still weeks away from beginning its planned science mission, but the immense probe has thrilled scientists with initial images and data pointing to a variable polar environment, ancient soaking events that produced clays, and relatively new—geologically speaking—gullies carved into the shadowed rim of a southern crater.
“We have another new Mars,” said Steve Saunders, MRO program scientist at NASA’s Washington D.C. headquarters, in a mission briefing. “Every time we go to Mars with a new set of instruments, we see a different planet.”