NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has officially completed it two-year primary mission of examining Mars in unprecedented detail.
The orbiter, set to continue observing the red planet for the next two years, has returned 73 terabits of science data, more than all earlier Mars missions combined. That data has revealed signs of a complex Martian history of climate change that produced a diversity of past watery environments.
Among the major findings during MRO’s primary science phase was the revelation that the action of water on and near the surface of Mars occurred for hundreds of millions of years.
The spacecraft also observed that signatures of a variety of watery environments, some acidic, some alkaline, increase the possibility that there are places on Mars that could reveal evidence of past life, if it ever existed.
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