How would MRO's telescope compare to earthbound telescopes

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nibb31

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The HIRISE camera is said to have a resolution of 1 pixel for 30cm. That makes it sharper than most of the hi-res shots on Google Earth for example (which are 1 pixel for 50cm I beleive).<br /><br />I'm not sure what the latest military sats are capable of, but I wouldn't be surprised if they could resolve to 10cm.<br /><br />It should be able to see the MERs, and Vikings and maybe provide more insight on what happened to Beagle 2.
 
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willpittenger

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I was thinking more of telescopes since the description I read called it a telescope. Does MRO have a Newtonian? If so, how big is it? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Will Pittenger<hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Add this user box to your Wikipedia User Page to show your support for the SDC forums: <div style="margin-left:1em">{{User:Will Pittenger/User Boxes/Space.com Account}}</div> </div>
 
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kane007

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Instrument features and capabilities<br /><br />Its a good ol reflecting telescope.<br /><br /><i> High Resolution Imaging. Panchromatic images centered in the red region of the spectrum (550-850 nm) has a maximum resolution of 30 cm/pixel at 300 km altitude. 10 adjacent and slightly overlapping CCDs of 2048 pixels each yield a maximum image width of 20,000 pixels, or 6 km. Image length is nominally 40,000 pixels, or 12 km. Pixel binning and data compression methods may be employed to reduce the data volume and time requirements for transmission of data to Earth. Individual surface targets may be imaged using any or all of the CCDs, providing for a high degree of flexibility.</i>
 
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CalliArcale

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Based on that image, I can answer the question of what type of telescope it is. It's not a Newtonian. It's a Cassegrain. These are popular in those sorts of applications because they are much more compact than Newtonians, although they have slightly less performance than comparable Newtonians. But when space and weight are a premium, you end up with more telescope this way.<br /><br />With an apeture of half a meter, this outperforms the vast majority of amateur telescopes.<br /><br />Actual resolution, however, is more complicated than simply the telescope's performance. MRO is moving very fast around Mars, so it also has to compensate for its own motion or the pictures will be blurred. This reduces the resolution to quite a bit less than the theoretical limit for the 'scope, so that's why they sent such a whopping big 'scope. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#666699"><em>"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly . . . timey wimey . . . stuff."</em>  -- The Tenth Doctor, "Blink"</font></p> </div>
 
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frodo1008

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Thanks Calli, I was going to say the same thing about the apeture. That IS a big scope compared to most usual backyard scopes. Of course, most backyard telescopes aren't going to Mars either!
 
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