With their recent release of the first eight “HiWish” selections, the NASA scientists controlling the high-resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have commenced the delivery of the Red Planet images, following up on countless suggestions made by the people.
The January-initiated “HiWish” imaging program, set up by the team behind the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE), was thus far limited to taking public requests on the choice opportunities offered by Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Odyssey and the Hubble Space Telescope.
The newly-released images – which are selected on the basis of a scientific reason behind a prospective picture – provide an up-close view of the sights like a boulder-strewn plain, the volcanic slopes, layered ice deposits, and dusty highlands that may veil signs of volcanic activity.
Saying that the “HiWish” program promoted “fresh thinking outside the box,” HiRise team’s chief investigator Alfred McEwen, of the University of Arizona, said in a NASA advisory that people’s choice brought forth images that otherwise would not have been chosen.
Calling the “HiWish” initiative a people’s choice program, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden stated that program was “a prime example of what we call participatory exploration. To allow the public to aim a camera at a specific site on a distant world is an invaluable teaching tool that can help educate and inspire our youth to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math.”