Permanent Human Settlement of the Earth, Space and Ocean Frontiers

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The New Mars Unfolding

For years I have made frequent visits to the NASA Mars Exploration Rover site to see what plucky Spirit and Opportunity were up to. I cannot more highly recommend any site more than that – it is literally our window onto the surface of Mars, day after day, week after week.

But – alas- now the rovers have real competition! Orbiting high over the red planet is the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) with a mission to map the planet to unbelievable detail both surface and subsurface – looking for water and whatever else it may find. And it is equipped with a telescopic camera so powerful it would make any world spy agency proud. For example, last week the MRO sent back a photo of the Mars Rover Opportunity sitting on the rim of Victoria Crater. The image was so startlingly clear, had it been an astronaut standing there, the camera would have snapped his picture too, complete with late day shadows!

So please, whatever you do, mark this MRO page and check back frequently over the next several years as Mars gives up its secrets in astonishing detail day after glorious day!