Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Tagged: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

  • Strained Mars data relay capabilities possible in 2020s

    Paul KnightlyMay 7th, 2018

    As its current fleet of Mars-orbiting spacecraft age with no new NASA orbiter under development, SpaceFlight Insider investigated the options available to maintain data relay capabilities with spacecraft on the surface into the 2020s.

  • NASA prepares Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to support future missions

    Jim SharkeyFebruary 11th, 2018

    Since arriving in orbit above the Red Planet in 2006, NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has observed Mars with it scientific instruments and provided a vital communications link for mission on the Martian surface. The spacecraft has already operated for more than twice its planned mission lifetime. NASA is planning to keep using it well into the 2020's to support upcoming missions. The space agency is currently taking steps to increase the orbiter's longevity. 

  • Dust storms linked to gas escaping Martian atmosphere

    Jim SharkeyJanuary 26th, 2018

    A new study using data gathered by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) during the Red Planet's most recent global dust storm in 2007, suggests that such storms play a role in the escaping of gases from the planet's atmosphere. That process transformed the warmer, wetter climate of ancient Mars into the arid, frozen conditions found on the surface of the Red Planet today.

  • Steep Martian slopes reveal structure of underground ice sheets

    Jim SharkeyJanuary 15th, 2018

    Scientists using NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) have located eight sites where thick deposits of ice beneath the Martian surface are exposed in the faces of steep eroding slopes known as scarps. The eight scarps, have slopes as steep as 55 degrees, provide researchers with new information about the internal structure of previously-discovered layered subsurface ice sheets in Mars's middle latitudes.

  • Research suggests limited role for water in Mars recurring slope lineae

    Paul KnightlyNovember 25th, 2017

    Water may play a less significant role than previously thought in recurring slope lineae on Mars according to a paper published in Nature Geoscience on Nov. 20. Recurring slope lineae, or RSL, are dark seasonal slope streaks that occur on slope faces in some regions of Mars.

  • Mars hydrothermal deposits hint at habitable conditions

    Ocean McIntyreOctober 21st, 2017

    A recent report in Nature Communications indicates that ancient Mars may have had deep sea-floor hydrothermal activity. Hydrothermal deposits on Earth are associated with the earliest signs of life and habitable environments today. Their detection on Mars has implications for the possibility of ancient life on the Red Planet.

  • MRO data utilized for Mars 2020 landing-site selection

    Paul KnightlyFebruary 11th, 2017

    NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) is providing the basis for evaluating eight prospective landing sites for the Mars 2020 rover mission.

  • Ridges on Mars have variety of origins

    Laurel KornfeldJanuary 27th, 2017

    Ridges of various sizes have been located in many regions of the Martian surface, and scientists surmise that they originated in a variety of processes and events.

  • Martian polar ice caps revealed in 3-D

    Paul KnightlyJanuary 10th, 2017

    Three-dimensional subsurface images are revealing unprecedented new insights into the structure of the Martian polar ice caps. The 3-D images were produced by data from the Shallow Radar (SHARAD) on board NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) over the course of more than 2,000 orbital passes over each Martian pole.

  • Martian ice deposit contains as much water as Lake Superior

    Jim SharkeyNovember 25th, 2016

    Scientists using data from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) have discovered a layer of water ice beneath a region of cracked and pitted plains on Mars that holds about as much water as what is in Lake Superior, largest of the Great Lakes.

  • New analysis yields clues to fate of Beagle 2

    Jim SharkeyNovember 18th, 2016

    Scientists have discovered new clues about the fate of the British-made Beagle 2 Mars lander, thanks to a new research technique. The probe was discovered on the surface of Mars in November 2014 using images from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), but questions remained about what had caused its failure to contact Earth.

  • Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spies Schiaparelli crash site

    Bart LeahyOctober 30th, 2016

    NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has spotted the crash site of Schiaparelli, the lander portion of the European Space Agency (ESA) ExoMars 2016 mission. Images taken by MRO’s High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on October 25 show three impact locations within about 0.9 miles (1.5 kilometers) of each other.

  • NASA spacecraft eyes remains of ESA’s Schiaparelli lander

    Eric ShearOctober 22nd, 2016

    NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) confirmed the ExoMars team's worst fears by photographing recently added features on the surface of Mars at Meridiani Planum believed to have been created by a crash landing of Europe's Schiaparelli test lander. The demonstrator entered Mars' atmosphere at Mars Oct. 19. All seemed to be going well until the signal cut off about 50 seconds before its planned touchdown.

  • Some ancient Martian lakes more recent than previously thought

    Jim SharkeySeptember 18th, 2016

    A new study using data from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and other spacecraft indicate that lakes and streams on Mars formed much later in the planet's history than previously thought possible.

  • Study of Martian canyons yields clues about possible water

    Jim SharkeyJuly 12th, 2016

    Scientists studying seasonally recurring dark streaks on Martian slopes that may be indicators of water on the surface of Mars have published their findings on Thursday, July 7, in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets. The study investigated thousands of these dark streaks in the Valles Marineris canyon network near the Red Planet's equator.