HiRISE

Camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter For the Apple accessory, see Twelve South.

HiRISE being prepared before it is shipped for attachment to the spacecraft

High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment is a camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter which has been orbiting and studying Mars since 2006. The 65:kg (143:lb), US$40:million instrument was built under the direction of the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. It consists of a 0.5:m (19.7:in) aperture reflecting telescope, the largest so far of any deep space mission, which allows it to take pictures of Mars with resolutions of 0.3:m/pixel (1:ft/pixel), resolving objects below a meter across.

HiRISE has imaged Mars exploration rovers on the surface, including the Opportunity rover and the ongoing Curiosity mission.

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History

Crop of one of the first images of Mars from the HiRISE camera

In the late 1980s, Alan Delamere of Ball Aerospace & Technologies began planning the kind of high-resolution imaging needed to support sample return and surface exploration of Mars. In early 2001 he teamed up with Alfred McEwen of the University of Arizona to propose such a camera for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), and NASA formally accepted it November 9, 2001.

Ball Aerospace was given the responsibility to build the camera and they delivered HiRISE to NASA on December 6, 2004 for integration with the rest of the spacecraft. It was prepared for launch on board the MRO on August 12, 2005, to the cheers of the HiRISE team who were present.

Artist's rendition of HiRISE at Mars

During the cruise phase of MRO, HiRISE took multiple test shots including several of the Moon and the Jewel Box cluster. These images helped to calibrate the camera and prepare it for taking pictures of Mars.

On March 10, 2006, MRO achieved Martian orbit and primed HiRISE to acquire some... ...read more

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