Diagram of instrumentation aboard MRO.
It's also the science-instrument observations. One of two missions considered for the 2003 Mars launch window, the MRO proposal lost against what became known as the Mars Exploration Rovers.The orbiter mission was rescheduled for launch in 2005, and NASA announced its final name, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, on October 26, 2000.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) is a large orbiter, modeled in part on NASA’s highly successful Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft, designed to photograph Mars from orbit. In November 2006, after five months of aerobraking, it entered its final science orbit and began its primary science phase. Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will carry three instruments that will assist in spacecraft navigation and communications. Its primary goals are to map the Martian surface with a high-resolution telescopic camera, at least partly to help select sites for future landing missions. A new study identifies frozen water just below the Martian surface, where astronauts could easily dig it up.

Other orbiters will continue relaying data from Mars surface missions for a two-week period. A new image shows the view from space of NASA's Mars rover exploring the clay-bearing unit. What are Science Instruments? "It's not just the communications relay that MRO provides, as important as that is. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft carries six instruments, three engineering instruments, and two more science-facility experiments experiments. NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter passes over the planet's south polar region in this artist's concept illustration. Science instruments are state-of-the-art tools for acquiring information about Martian geology, atmosphere, environmental conditions, and potential biosignatures. It was launched on August 12, 2005 and reached Mars on March 10, 2006. Paste this HTML code on your site to embed. "We are counting on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter remaining in service for many more years," said Michael Meyer, lead scientist of NASA's Mars Exploration Program at the agency's Washington headquarters. Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) is a spacecraft designed to study the geology and climate of Mars, provide reconnaissance of future landing sites, and relay data from surface missions back to Earth.