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Mars orbiter performance impresses scientists


NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in early 2010 sent image of an inverted crater in the Arabia Terra region of Mars. Photo NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

PASADENA (US) (AP): Scientists are impressed with the flood of data beamed back by NASA's most advanced Mars orbiter.

The space agency said on Wednesday that the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has sent back 100 terabytes of information since 2006. That's equal to about 3 million songs in MP3 format.

Launched from Florida in 2005, the reconnaissance orbiter reached Mars in March 2006. It is the most powerful probe ever sent to the Red Planet.

Project scientist Rich Zurek of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory says he is blown away by the quality of the images and other tidbits that give scientists a deeper understanding of the planet.

Last year, the reconnaissance orbiter suffered several computer resets that temporarily halted science operations. It has since returned to normal.

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