Tuesday, May 17, 2005
This is a 1/2 size model of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, scheduled for launch this year. The orbiter will arrive at Mars in March of 2006 and for the next 8 months it will fly in and out of the upper reaches of the red planet's atmosphere 580 times to slow itself down to a circular orbit. This is a proven method for slowing down craft at Mars. The carbon dioxide atmosphere of Mars is 100 times thinner than Earth's nitrogen/oxygen air but the orbiter still must enter the atmosphere at a precise angle or risk burning up or flying past the planet.
Labels: JPL Open House 2005