Of all the pieces of hardware that NASA has sent to Mars, we do not hear about Mars Reconnaissance's orbit nearly as much as we would like. This is an amazing machine that drastically outstrips its original mission and continues to transmit important information to the Red Planet, thanks to its set of cameras and high-tech sensors.
It was expected that the main mission of the spacecraft will last only two years, but has already spent 13 years in orbit around Mars and seems to continue this impressive part far in the future. In its new blog, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA) reveals that MRO has just pinned a truly unbelievable event: 60,000 trips around Mars.
The data collected by the MRO led to new insights into the functioning of the planet, and during its orbit he saw three of the completely new missions land on the surface of Mars. NASA uses orbit to provide support for these missions, making it the best multitask.
"MRO has given scientists and the public a new perspective on Mars," said John Johnston, a JPL statement. "We also supported NASA's fleet from the surface missions of Mars, allowing them to send their images and discoveries back to scientists on Earth."
MRO's HiRISE rendering system is perhaps the most popular tool available. HiRISE sent wonderful looks to the surface of the planet and revealed things about the geography of the planet and the time that would otherwise be unknown. New clues about the remaining Martian water and the surface water history of the planet are part of the OMP mission from the outset.
60 000 trips around a planet are quite a feat, but the MRO is not even near completion. Based on fuel consumption, NASA believes that the spacecraft will remain in service in the 2020s, and if things go well, there may be enough propellant to take it to the 2030s.