100,000,000,000,000 bits of Mars Data

Pitted Layers Northeast of Hellas Region.
Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

100 terabits = 100,000,000,000,000 bits. It’s not difficult to comprehend that figure today, but few decades ago this amount of data volume is just unimaginable, the time when we were still using diskettes (floppy disks) of few hundreds KB.

And this incredible amount of information is what the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) had sent back to us. It is more than three times the amount of data from all other deep-space mission – mission that has flown past the Moon’s orbit – combined. More important about this data is not just the quantity, but the quality of what they tell us about Mars, about its environments and how they changed over time.

MRO is going to complete its fourth year at Mars on March 10. Hopefully it’ll continue to stay healthy and help us learn more about our neighbour so that one day when we put our feet down on its surface, we’ll know how to survive there.

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~ by thChieh on March 5, 2010.

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