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This image is an artist's concept of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter hovering over the dusty orange surface of Mars.  Small craters, hills and gullies are visible on the surface.  The large spacecraft's center consists of a boxy bus, covered in reflective gold thermal blanketing.  Above the bus sits the spacecraft's large, circular high-gain antenna.  Behind the main bus is a long thin pole that lies parallel to the martian surface and represents the SHARAD radar.  Flanking the center and pointed slightly downward are the two large solar panels.  They are rectangular in shape and covered in thousands of tiny dark squares of solar cells.
Full Res JPG (7.5 MB)

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

This artist's concept of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter features the spacecraft's main bus facing down, toward the red planet. The large silver circular feature above the spacecraft bus is the high-gain antenna, the spacecraft's main means of communicating with both Earth and other spacecraft. The long, thin pole behind the bus is the SHARAD antenna. Seeking liquid or frozen water, SHARAD will probe the subsurface using radar waves at a 15-25 MHz frequency band, "seeing" in the first few hundreds of feet (up to 1 kilometer) of Mars' crust. The large instrument (covered in black thermal blanketing) in the center is the HiRISE camera. This powerful camera will provide the highest-resolution images from orbit to date.

The other easily visible instruments are: the Electra telecommunications package which is the gold-colored instrument directly left of the HiRISE camera. It will act as a communications relay and navigation aid for Mars spacecraft. To the right of the HiRISE camera is the Context Imager (CTX).

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