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This image is a four-frame, horizontal art piece featuring four of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's vital mission phases.  From left to right they are: launch, aerobraking, science and relay.  Each frame is a colorful, surrealistic representation of that particular event done by artist Tina DiCicco.  The launch frame features a stylistic, black rocket leaning away from Earth to simulate take off.  The rocket is trailed by a tail of small red, orange and yellow shapes meant to represent the engines firing.  The second frame is aerobraking and features a colorful, boxy spacecraft using its large, rectangular solar panels for drag in the martian atmosphere.  The third frame represents the science phase of the mission when the spacecraft actually begins collecting vital data.  In this artistic image, the boxy spacecraft is orbiting a red Mars, using its powerful HiRISE camera to view the surface in unprecedented detail.  The swaths of data it takes are represented by purple and green triangles of color on the planet's surface.  The final frame is meant to represent the relay phase.  Against a purple sky, a rover on the martian surface sends information (drawn as a line) to the boxy Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and the orbiter, in turn, returns the information (line) back to Earth.
Full Res JPG (1.6 Mb)

Important Stages of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Artist Tina DiCicco's image highlights four important stages of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mission: launch, aerobraking, science and relay.

Credit: NASA/JPL/DiCicco

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