TAQueries: Photography From Space

I’ve started a new Q&A hashtag on Twitter; the first question is in! The question is the following:


The above header image, titled “Whirlwind trails on Martian sand dunes”, is one of the most beautifully detailed images ever taken of the Martian surface. Those midnight-blue trails on Mars’ rusty soil were formed by somewhat random dust devils, yet they seem as if they were carefully designed for the human eye to admire. But how do we take amazing images such as this one? Well… that, ladies and gentlemen, is thanks to this beast right here:

The preparation of HiRISE in a controlled laboratory before it was shipped for attachment to the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Meet HiRISE, or High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment. At a price of 40 million dollars, weighing in at 65 kilograms, HiRISE is one of the most technologically advanced cameras ever built. It was attached to NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and launched back in August 2005 atop ULA’s Atlas V rocket. HiRISE’s 50-centimeter aperture, so far the largest aperture sent on a deep space mission, allows it to take extremely high-resolution images at about 30 centimeters per pixel. These images are then digitally processed here on Earth, then released for all people to see. MRO being in orbit around Mars at this very moment, the above image of Mars’ dust devil trails was captured by HiRISE itself. It is with highly advanced instruments such as HiRISE, that we are able to take such brilliant images of all bodies in the solar system from orbit.

Not quite the answer you were looking for? Be sure to let me know via email: theastrophysicist@hotmail.com or by tweeting at me@ThomasMoszczuk


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