MRO CTX/MARCI Science Team Receives Prestigious NASA Award
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 26 July 2011
MRO CTX/MARCI SCIENCE TEAM RECEIVES PRESTIGIOUS NASA AWARD
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) Context Camera (CTX)/Mars Color Imager (MARCI) science team was awarded the Group Achievement Award during the NASA Honor Awards Ceremony on July 19, 2011. These awards are presented by NASA to a number of carefully selected teams who have distinguished themselves by making outstanding contributions to the NASA mission. The award was given for “systematically imaging much of Mars at high resolution” with CTX and for producing an “unprecedented record of atmospheric phenomena” with MARCI. MRO Project Scientist Dr. Richard W. Zurek was on hand at the ceremony to accept the award on behalf of the CTX/MARCI science team.
CTX has imaged over 67% of Mars at a resolution of 6 meters per pixel. Covering up to 9390 km2 in a single image, CTX is well suited not only to create large areal mosaics, but also to acquire extensive repeat coverage. Approximately 5% of the planet has been covered in stereo with CTX, aiding in quantitative geomorphic studies. In total, CTX has acquired repeat coverage of nearly 25% of the planet, including routine monitoring of over 800 separate locations for surficial changes and annual spring and summer mosaics of the southern polar cap to monitor ongoing martian climate change.
MARCI acquires a daily global mosaic of Mars in 5 visible and 2 ultraviolet wavelengths at a resolution of up to 1 kilometer per pixel. These daily mosaics are used to monitor the martian weather, continuing the efforts of the wide angle Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC WA), which acquired daily global mosaics from 1999 to 2006. In addition to studying martian weather patterns, the MARCI data are used to alert the operations teams for surface missions such as the Spirit and Opportunity rovers of any impending threats such as dust storms, as well as for image acquisition planning purposes for CTX in order to avoid imaging dusty areas. MARCI data are also used to create a weekly weather report for the general public, including a movie of the previous week's data, which can be found at: http://www.msss.com/msss_images/latest_weather.html
In addition to CTX and MARCI, MSSS built the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC), operated by principal investigator Mark Robinson at Arizona State University, which continues to return 0.5 meter per pixel high-resolution images and 100 meter per pixel multi-spectral images after being launched in June 2009. MSSS also built and will be operating four cameras aboard the 2011 Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover mission and one camera aboard the 2011 Juno Mission to Jupiter.
Other activities of the company are described at www.msss.com.
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