Embedded systems in action: Pictures from Mars

Since attaining working orbit last November, NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been mapping the Martian surface with high-resolution and infrared imaging sensors.mars

These images promise to provide a better understanding of Mars, including its past or present ability to support any form of life. Image collection is all part of the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) developed by Ball Aerospace Technologies Corporation. Managed by the ThreadX RTOS from Express Logic, HiRISE application software controls the acquisition of images across a six-kilometer swath of 20,000 pixels at a time while the spacecraft sweeps over the surface of Mars. While traveling at a speed of 3,200 meters per second, image data is continuously collected using an algorithm to match ground velocity and maintain surface alignment to ensure that image swaths can be reassembled back on Earth. You can click the thumbnail to the left for a higher resolution photo or go to the NASA MRO website for a full gallery of images.


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