Direct Access to the

Glossary: 0#  A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z
Companies: 0# A B C D E  F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Deutsch: Mars-Erkundungssatellit / Español: Orbitador de Reconocimiento de Marte / Português: Orbitador de Reconhecimento de Marte / Français: Orbiteur de Reconnaissance de Mars / Italiano: Orbiter di Ricognizione di Marte

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in the space industry context refers to a NASA spacecraft designed to study Mars from orbit. Launched in 2005, it plays a crucial role in examining the Martian surface, atmosphere, and climate, as well as serving as a communication relay for other Mars missions.


The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) is a sophisticated spacecraft equipped with advanced scientific instruments to capture high-resolution images and gather extensive data about Mars. The primary mission of the MRO is to conduct detailed reconnaissance of Mars to support future exploration missions. It is equipped with the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera, which can capture images of the Martian surface in unprecedented detail, revealing features as small as one metre (three feet).

MRO's importance in the space industry extends beyond its scientific contributions. It has significantly enhanced our understanding of Mars by mapping the planet’s surface, analyzing its atmosphere and weather patterns, and identifying water-related minerals. These insights are crucial for selecting landing sites for future missions and understanding the planet's potential for supporting life.

The spacecraft also carries the Mars Climate Sounder (MCS) to study the atmosphere and the Mars Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) to detect minerals on the surface. MRO has played a pivotal role in transmitting data from Mars rovers and landers back to Earth, acting as a vital communication link.

Special Considerations

MRO has faced several challenges, including the need for precise orbital insertion and maintenance to ensure optimal data collection. The spacecraft has had to perform multiple aerobraking maneuvers to adjust its orbit, a complex process involving the use of the Martian atmosphere to slow down and position the spacecraft correctly.

Application Areas

  1. Surface Mapping: MRO provides detailed maps of the Martian surface, helping to identify geological features and potential landing sites for future missions.
  2. Climate Studies: The spacecraft's instruments study Mars’ climate, including its atmospheric temperature, dust, and water vapor.
  3. Mineral Detection: MRO identifies and analyzes minerals on the Martian surface, particularly those that may indicate the past presence of water.
  4. Communication Relay: It serves as a communication relay for other Mars missions, ensuring that data from rovers and landers reach Earth efficiently.
  5. Weather Monitoring: MRO monitors weather patterns on Mars, including dust storms and seasonal changes, providing critical information for mission planning.

Well-Known Examples

  1. High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE): HiRISE has captured some of the most detailed images of the Martian surface, revealing intricate details of the planet's geology.
  2. Mars Climate Sounder (MCS): MCS studies the Martian atmosphere, contributing to our understanding of the planet's climate and weather patterns.
  3. Mars Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM): CRISM has identified a variety of minerals on Mars, offering insights into the planet’s geological history and the role of water.
  4. Communication Relay for Rovers: MRO has relayed critical data from rovers such as Curiosity and Perseverance, ensuring that scientific findings and mission updates reach Earth.

Treatment and Risks

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter faces several risks, including the harsh space environment, potential technical failures, and the challenges of maintaining its orbit around Mars. Despite these risks, MRO has exceeded its expected mission lifespan, continuing to provide valuable data and support for Mars exploration.

Maintaining communication with MRO is crucial, as it ensures that data from Mars missions are transmitted back to Earth. Technical issues, such as solar panel degradation or instrument malfunctions, could impact its performance, but NASA has managed these risks through regular maintenance and software updates.

Similar Terms

  • Mars Odyssey: An earlier NASA orbiter that has been studying Mars since 2001 and also serves as a communication relay.
  • Mars Express: A European Space Agency (ESA) mission that includes an orbiter and lander, launched in 2003.
  • Mars Global Surveyor: A NASA mission launched in 1996, which mapped the entire Martian surface and studied its atmosphere until 2006.
  • ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter: A joint mission by ESA and Roscosmos to study trace gases in the Martian atmosphere, launched in 2016.


The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is a cornerstone of Mars exploration, providing high-resolution imaging, climate data, and mineral analysis while serving as a crucial communication link for other missions. Its contributions have significantly advanced our understanding of Mars, aiding in the selection of landing sites for future missions and offering insights into the planet's potential to support life.


No comments

Do you have more interesting information, examples? Send us a new or updated description !

If you sent more than 600 words, which we can publish, we will -if you allow us - sign your article with your name!

Related Articles

Sojourner ■■■■■■■■■■
Sojourner in the space industry context refers to the first Mars rover deployed by NASA as part of the . . . Read More
Phobos ■■■■■■■■■■
Phobos is one of the two natural satellites of the planet Mars. It is the larger of the two and it orbits . . . Read More
Flyby ■■■■■■■■■■
A flyby is a type of mission where a spacecraft flies by a celestial body, such as a planet, moon, or . . . Read More
Mars Rover ■■■■■■■■■
Mars Rover in the space industry context refers to a motorized vehicle that travels across the surface . . . Read More
Curiosity ■■■■■■■■■
Curiosity is a quality related to inquisitive thinking such as exploration, investigation, and learning, . . . Read More
Mars ■■■■■■■■■
In the aerospace context, Mars refers to the fourth planet from the Sun in the solar system. Mars is . . . Read More
Mariner ■■■■■■■■
In the aerospace context, "Mariner" is the name of a series of American spacecraft missions conducted . . . Read More
MAVEN ■■■■■■■■
MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) in the space industry context refers to a NASA space probe . . . Read More
Spirit ■■■■■■■■
Spirit in the space industry context refers to the Mars Exploration Rover named "Spirit." Spirit was . . . Read More
Rover ■■■■■■■■
In the aerospace context, a rover is a type of robotic vehicle that is designed to move across the surface . . . Read More