SOME/IMAGE : 'BEAUTIFUL MARS' BY HIRISE
Launched in August of 2005, the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) is one of the six science instruments that is flying onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) mission. It has photographed hundreds of targeted swaths of Mars' surface in
HiRISE is investigating deposits and landforms resulting from geologic and climatic processes and assist in the evaluation of candidate landing sites.
The camera operates in visible wavelengths, the same as human eyes, but with a telescopic lens that produces images at resolutions never before seen in planetary exploration missions. These high-resolution images enable scientists to distinguish 1-meter-size (about 3-foot-size) objects on Mars and to study the morphology (surface structure) in a much more comprehensive
manner than ever before.
HiRISE also makes observations at near-infrared wavelengths to obtain information on the mineral groups present. From an altitude that varies from 200 to 400 kilometers (about 125 to 250 miles) above Mars, HiRISE acquires surface images containing individual, basketball-size (30 to 60 centimeters, or 1 to 2 feet wide) pixel elements, allowing surface features 4 to 8 feet across to be resolved. These new, high-resolution images are providing unprecedented
views of layered materials, gullies, channels, and other science targets, in addition to characterizing possible future landing sites.
The Principal Investigator (lead scientist) for HiRISE is Alfred McEwen from the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona.