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Lockheed Martin to build 2005 NASA Mars spacecraft
Posted: Thu, Oct 4, 2001, 12:15 PM ET (1615 GMT)
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter illustration (NASA/JPL) NASA announced Wendesday that it has selected Lockheed Martin to build the spacecraft for the agency's next orbital mission to the Red Planet, the 2005 Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). The spacecraft, slated for launch in August 2005, will provide the sharpest images ever taken of Mars from orbit. MRO will also include wide-angle cameras, an imaging spectrometer, an atmospheric sounder, and a subsurface radar. MRO will be used to scout landing sites for proposed future landers and rovers and also conduct a detailed search for past and present sources of water on the planet. The $145-million spacecraft will weigh in at 1,800 kg, twice the mass of Mars Global Surveyor, and will return 12 times as much data as MGS. Lockheed Martin also built MGS and 2001 Mars Odyssey, scheduled to enter orbit around Mars later this month, as well as the ill-fated Mars Climate Orbiter and Mars Polar Lander.
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