PLANETARY MISSION UPDATES
|Cassini Views Earth
On September 15, 2006, the Cassini spacecraft captured this amazing view of the Earth (purple arrow). Seen through Saturn's rings, the Earth is almost 1.5 billion kilometers (930 million miles) away. The image was made possible when Saturn passed between Cassini and the Sun, blocking the Sun's glare. In the close-up (top left), our Moon (white arrow) can be seen very faintly.
Image courtesy of NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Space Science Institute
|Opportunity at Victoria Crater
On September 26, 2006, Opportunity reached the rim of Victoria Crater. About 750 meters (nearly half a mile) wide and 70 meters (230 feet) deep, Victoria is the largest and deepest crater studied by the rover. Rocky points can be seen along the crater's rim and rippled sand covers the floor.
Images courtesy of NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory-Caltech
|Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) arrived at the red planet in March 2006. After six months of maneuvers, MRO achieved science orbit on September 11. For one Martian year (nearly two Earth years) its high-resolution imager HiRISE will study the planet's surface, and the sounding radar SHARAD will map geologic deposits beneath the surface.
Two scientists from the National Air and Space Museum's Center for Earth and Planetary Studies are involved with the mission. Dr. John Grant is a HiRISE co-investigator, and Dr. Bruce Campbell is on the SHARAD science team.
This image of Ius Chasma was captured by HiRISE on September 29, 2006. Layered rock deposits, folded bedrock, craters, and dunes are visible on the canyon's floor.
Image courtesy of NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory-Caltech/University of Arizona
|MRO Spies Opportunity
On October 3, 2006, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's High Resolution Imager HiRISE captured this image of Victoria Crater.
In the close-up, the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity can be seen near the crater's rim. The full-scale rover model (on display to the right of the screens) is the same size as the one in the close-up.
Images courtesy of NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory-Caltech/University of Arizona
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