NASA’s Mars Orbiter Celebrates 15 Years Since Launch by Showcasing Stunning Photos

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) is just one of plenty of spacecraft that had the mission of examining the Red Planet up close. If humanity truly wants ever to lay foot on the Martian surface, it needs as much data as it can get.

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (aka MRO) has studied Mars’ atmosphere and terrain since over a decade ago. The spacecraft also serves as a relay station for other Mars missions.

15th anniversary achieved

NASA is celebrating this huge milestone by showcasing some of the spacecraft’s best images. Feel free to feast your eyes on them below, as they are presented by YouTuber ‘Amaze Lab’:

On Mars, there’s much less oxygen than it is on Earth (0.13% of the Martian atmosphere contains oxygen), and not to mention that the cosmic radiation can be a huge threat on the Red Planet. Mars doesn’t have a protective shield like the Earth’s atmosphere, which means that understanding as much as possible about how the phenomenon of cosmic radiation works on our neighboring planet is mandatory.

Both NASA and SpaceX hope that humans will finally be able to lay foot on Mars in the near future. NASA plans to return astronauts to the Moon by 2024 during the Artemis program, and it’s a mystery why the American space agency didn’t try that earlier. If the mission is successful, sending humans to the Red Planet for the first time will be the next step.

The MRO launched way back in 2005 aboard an Atlas V rocket, and it reached Mars a few months later. The probe was initially slated to last for just five years, but somebody concluded that it should be useful for much more time. Most of the images captured by the MRO were provided by the spacecraft’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera.

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