15 YEARS OF MARS PHOTOS
A FEW weeks ago, NASA’s latest mission to Mars, the Perseverance rover, lifted off.
But 15 years ago this month, another spacecraft headed for the Red Planet. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) lifted off on 12 August 2005, and entered the Martian orbit in March 2006. Armed with three powerful cameras, the MRO has studied the planet’s surface and atmosphere, as well what lies beneath the surface, ever since.
Its High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera has taken 6,882,204 images of our neighbour. To mark its 15th birthday, here are some of our favourites. Many happy returns, MRO!
An impact crater where a meteorite struck Mars
This impact crater is surrounded by a large ‘blast zone’. The explosion that caused this crater threw debris as far as 15 kilometres away!
This worm-like shape is a dust devil, snapped from 297 kilometres above the ground. The whirlwind is 800 metres high – about the height of the tallest building on Earth
This dramatic snap captures an avalanche on a 500-metre cliff at Mars’ north pole
A stunning image of one of Mars’ two moons, Phobos
These shapes in the floor of a crater are commonly found in the northern lowlands of Mars