NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Launch of NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral on the morning of 12 August 2005. The spacecraft is housed within the nose cone, which protects it during launch. The MRO will reach Mars on 10 March 2006. It will then spend until November manoeuvring into a low orbit around the planet. From here it will examine Mars' atmosphere, surface and subsurface to study the history of water on the planet. It will also evaluate potential landing sites for future missions and provide a communications relay point for future surface missions. The MRO's primary mission will end on 31 December 2010.
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