Ball Aerospace HiRISE Camera Returns Stunning Images From Mars
September 29, 2006
A Ball Aerospace-built camera is returning the highest-resolution images of planet Mars from the largest telescopic instrument ever sent beyond Earth's orbit. Positioned roughly 190 miles (300 kilometers) above the Red Planet, the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera flying aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) relayed its first low-altitude images on Friday, Sept. 29.
The Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. HiRISE camera began its journey to Mars in August, 2005. The first images from HiRISE were returned in March of this year, when HiRISE was roughly 1,600 miles away from Mars (2,500 kilometers). MRO then began its aerobraking sequence to lower the spacecraft into its final orbit. The HiRISE camera is designed to image the surface at up to five times the resolution currently provided by the Mars Global Surveyor, identifying images as small as a coffee table. (Images at: http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/)
"Ball Aerospace has been contributing to NASA's exploration of Mars since 1976," said President and CEO David L. Taylor. "There's tremendous anticipation in knowing that the Ball Aerospace-built camera is expected to return more science data than all previous Mars missions."
Ball Aerospace is celebrating its 50th year in business in 2006. The company began building pointing controls for military rockets in 1956, and later won a contract to build one of NASA's first spacecraft, the Orbiting Solar Observatory. Over the years, the company has been responsible for numerous technological and scientific 'firsts' and now acts as a technology innovator for important national missions.
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SOURCE: Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.
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