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Photos: Mars Orbiter snaps first high-res image

NASA scientists are all smiles after the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter sends back its first image.

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Topic: Innovation
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1 of 3 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

first image

The first image taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is a mosaic containing 10 side-by-side exposures taken through red filters at greatly reduced scale. The full product would be 20,000 pixels wide by 9,500 pixels high. The image covers an area of approximately 30.7 miles by 11.7 miles and was taken from 1,547 miles--approximately the same distance from New York to Dallas.

The white box shows the position of the sample image (next) in full resolution which gives a hint of what the camera can do.

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2 of 3 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

full resolution

This is a full resolution portion of the first image of the Martian surface by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera. This photo covers an area of about 1.6 by 1.3 miles. From 1,547 miles, the camera provides a resolution of 98 inches per pixel. At this scale you could see the Empire State Building from Dallas.

When the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter reaches its planned altitude of 174 miles in fall 2006, it will provide a resolution of about 11 inches per pixel. The smallest discernable shapes will be less than three feet long.

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3 of 3 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

camera team

Team members for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter are all smiles while viewing the first image at the operations center on the University of Arizona campus.

Click here for more information about the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

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