NASA’s Reconnaissance Orbiter finished 60000 loops around Mars at 1:39 PM EDT. The MRO takes around 112 min for one revolution, at a speed of 3.4 km/s
Since its entry on March 10, 2006, reports of the planet’s atmosphere and surface have been transmitted daily via its HiRISE camera that is extremely precise.
MRO has been transmitting data about its daily weather that will be helpful for future missions to Mars. It is also part of a relay network that beams data from Mars landers and rovers. MRO will have transmitted around 1TB of data from Curiosity by this month.
Dan Johnston, a project manager, said that the orbiter has given a new look at Mars. It also helped support Mars surface machines that transmitted their findings via MRO.
MRO can also study any location on Mars once every 2 weeks. Its powerful imaging capabilities allow scientists to see cloud patterns and avalanches, meteorite strikes, CO2 ice and shifting sand dunes. It can study massive atmospheric events too.
Leslie Tamparie stated that enough data has now been collected about Mars to test various hypotheses and their changes with the passage of time.
MRO and Odyssey are primary transmitters for Curiosity and InSight. The MAVEN orbiter has begun modifying its orbit to prepare for Mars 2020 rover entry when it lands sometime in 2021. Data is beamed to NASA’s DeepSpace Network after transmission, by orbiters.
Relay networks are currently international. The ESA’s orbiter is also currently transmitting data from Martian surface. ESA’s ExoMars rover will land in the 2021 too.
Orbiters also play a critical role apart from snapping pictures and transmitting data. They play the role of black boxes, collecting data of each Mars landing. This data allows for safer systems to be designed. NASA is currently on a mission to send humans to Mars.
NASA’s JPL division manages this project. HiRISE is currently operated by Arizona University.