12 August 2015 News

The 10th Anniversary of NASA’s Mars Orbiter and the path to a manned Mars mission

The journey to Mars has been a long one. And it’s about to get longer still.

Humanity has been fascinated with the Red Planet, as we love to refer to it, since it was first discovered.

Some costly Mars projects have met with failure. But the success of NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which celebrates a decade since its launch this week, brought us “closer” to Mars than ever before.

Thanks to MRO, we have stunning, amazing visuals of Mars, as well as new data on the Mars environment that have kept public interest in Mars high.

And MRO’s longevity has meant that, since reaching Mars in March of 2006, it has remained an integral part of our mission to further explore the planet.

MRO’s mission turned out to be not only scientific. It has played the role of a kind of Mars “ambassador,” galvanising both the public and the space community in the effort to launch an eventual manned mission to Mars.

It’s going to be a long and risky journey. But spacecraft like the MRO have shown us that a) It is possible and b) It is far too fascinating an opportunity for humanity to pass up on.

You can read more about MRO, what it does and how it does it, here.

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