NASA has an exceptional instrument to explore Mars. With the MRO (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter), the US space agency will be able to take pictures of the Red Planet in unprecedented detail. The tiniest details of our neighbor and parts of its surface that we still know little about are shown for the first time.
In orbit since 2006, the device knows Mars well and NASA knows how to master its massive camera, HiRSE. With such an instrument, the probe opens a window on Mars. In one of its last views, HiRSE took an interest in a 5-kilometer-diameter crater in the north of the planet.
Mars: The Frozen Planet
At these high latitudes, temperatures are lower than in other parts of Mars. Like Earth, the northern part of the Red Planet is less affected by the sun’s rays and therefore less warm. Snow forms easily on sand dunes. In the image above, it is clearly visible with the white lines covering the image.
By studying this image, NASA is trying to understand the entire climate of Mars. Dark tones not far from the tops of the hills suggest valleys are forming. The US space agency, which worked with University of Arizona researchers to study the image, said the presence of the valleys is indirect evidence of seasonal melting in the region.
The presence of lines “down” the crater indicates the melting of the snow during the arrival of summer. NASA has known for years that the Martian soil is covered in water. This data is essential in the idea of a meeting between mankind and the red planet.
Water: Mandatory element for man
The water on Mars could be used by astronauts to drink during their journey, but could also be used to make oxygen. Through a process called electrolysis, water can be “cut” in two, the hydrogen and oxygen atoms separated by passing a strong electric current.
Having water on the site will allow the space agency responsible for the project to reduce launch costs and the mass of the rocket that takes off from Earth. The trip to Mars today takes almost 3 years and NASA, although trying to reduce this trip time as much as possible, plans to visit our neighbor by 2040.
To better prepare, the US space agency has launched the Artemis program. By 2025, a woman and a man of color will be on the lunar floor, a kind of “life-size exercise” for the US space agency and its crews.