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MRO returns first images
Posted: Sat, Mar 25, 2006, 5:44 PM ET (2244 GMT)
MRO first image (NASA/JPL) NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spacecraft transmitted its first images of the Martian surface on Friday, two weeks after entering orbit around the planet. The images were taken late Thursday night by three cameras on the spacecraft as part of engineering tests of the instruments. The images were taken while the spacecraft was more than 2,000 km above the surface, much higher than the spacecraft's final orbit, but still yielded images comparable to the highest-resolution pictures of the Martian surface ever taken, according to NASA officials. MRO has been in an elliptical orbit since arriving at the planet on March 10. The spacecraft will soon begin a series of aerobraking passes through the upper Martian atmosphere to lower and circularize its orbit, a process that will last about six months.
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