UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — The pictures were first published by Robert Zimmerman – the author of a book on the history of astronautics – on his personal site.
The writer looked at images of the Martian surface from NASA devices, which were available in the agency’s database. Quite by chance, he managed to find several photos with five marks. Each of them was signed “SpaceX Starship Landing Candidate.”
New images were obtained from the HiRISE telescope, which belongs to the University of Arizona and is installed on the MRO spacecraft. His camera can photograph surface features with a resolution of up to 0.3 meters per pixel. This is three times the resolution that Google Maps satellites provide when capturing the Earth’s surface.
According to Alfred McEwan, director of the NASA Planet Imaging Laboratory, they did analyze the surface of the Red Planet and try to find the best places to land the future SpaceX rocket. This work, according to the scientist, began back in 2017.
To this end, laboratory scientists have previously submitted applications for detailed images of individual regions of Mars, which they found to be the most interesting. A thorough analysis revealed nine potential locations for the landing of the Ilona Mask company. Six of them, according to McEwan, have already been published, two are being prepared for publication, and the high-resolution image of the latter has not yet been received.
The images were intended for the SpaceX mission, during which the Starship heavy launch vehicle was supposed to send a Red Dragon lander to the Red Planet, which, in turn, would land on the surface. But this mission was canceled in favor of the ITS interplanetary transport system, which is still being developed by Mask. The images obtained during surface analysis are also useful for ITS, the first launch of which is planned in 2022.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
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