NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has overhauled understanding of the Red Planet since 2006, has passed 200 terabits in the amount of science data returned. The data returned by the mission alone is more than three times the total data returned via NASA’s Deep Space Network for all the other missions managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., over the past 10 years.
While the 200 terabits number includes all the data this orbiter has relayed to Earth from robots on the surface of Mars, about 99.9 percent of the volume has come from the six science instruments aboard Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The 200 terabits are equivalent to the data volume in three nonstop months of high-definition video. The number does not include the engineering data that specialists operating the orbiter from JPL and Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, use for monitoring its health and performance.