National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Banner
Solar System Exploration
Missions
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
 By Target   By Name   By Decade 
Search all Missions Between:      and      Search
1950-1959 1960-1969 1970-1979 1980-1989 1990-1999 2000-2009 2010-2019 2020+
Mars Recon Orbiter
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission to Mars

Goals: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) is designed to track changes in the water and dust in Mars' atmosphere, look for more evidence of ancient seas and hot springs and peer into past Martian climate changes by studying surface minerals and layering. The orbiter carries a powerful camera capable of taking sharp images of surface features the size of a beach ball. The orbiter also serves as a data relay station for other Mars missions.

Accomplishments: Among the mission's major findings is that the action of water on and near the surface of Mars occurred for hundreds of millions of years. This activity was at least regional and possibly global in extent, though possibly intermittent. The spacecraft has also observed signatures of a variety of watery environments, some acidic, some alkaline, which increase the possibility that there are places on Mars that could reveal evidence of past life, if it ever existed. MRO also broke data transmission records, surpassing all other previous Mars missions.


Key Dates
12 Aug 2005:  Launch
Mar 2006 - Jul 2008:  Science Mission
10 Mar 2006:  Mars Orbit Insertion
Status: Extended Mission in Progress
Fast Facts
Mars Recon Orbiter Facts MRO's cameras not only capture Mars in high-definition; they also catch other Mars spacecraft in action. The image on the right is Phoenix descending to its landing site.

As of March 2010, MRO has sent back 100 terabits of data -- more than three times the amount of data from all other deep-space missions combined -- not just the ones to Mars, but every mission that has flown past the orbit of Earth's moon.

MRO traveled about 500 million km (310 million miles) to get to Mars.
Science & Technology Features
People Spotlight
Sarah Milkovich Sarah Milkovich
We act as a bridge to bring science and engineering together, and make sure that as engineering decisions are made; they are made in such a ... Read More...
Headlines
Links
Awards and Recognition   Solar System Exploration Roadmap   Contact Us   Site Map   Print This Page
NASA Official: Kristen Erickson
Advisory: Dr. James Green, Director of Planetary Science
Outreach Manager: Alice Wessen
Curator/Editor: Phil Davis
Science Writer: Autumn Burdick
Producer: Greg Baerg
Webmaster: David Martin
> NASA Science Mission Directorate
> Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
> Equal Employment Opportunity Data
   Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
> Information-Dissemination Policies and Inventories
> Freedom of Information Act
> Privacy Policy & Important Notices
> Inspector General Hotline
> Office of the Inspector General
> NASA Communications Policy
> USA.gov
> ExpectMore.gov
> NASA Advisory Council
> Open Government at NASA
Last Updated: 9 Jul 2012