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Ball Aerospace High Resolution Camera to Launch on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
August 8, 2005
With its powerful imaging capabilities, HiRISE will be able to return images of the surface of Mars in swaths of nearly 4 miles wide and 7 miles long. HiRISE is expected to return images in the panchromatic at a resolution of approximately 800 megapixels.
BOULDER, Colo. – NASA’s next journey to Mars, scheduled to launch August 10 from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, will include an advanced camera built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. for the University of Arizona. The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) is expected to provide thousands of images of the planet’s surface in unprecedented detail.
One of a suite of six science instruments, the HiRISE camera is designed to image the surface at up to five times the resolution currently provided by the Mars Global Surveyor, allowing identification of objects as small as a coffee table. Its mission is to investigate layered materials, gullies, channels and other science targets, and characterize potential landing sites for future robotic and manned missions.
The HiRISE camera is the largest and highest-resolution camera ever sent beyond Earth orbit. It will produce black and white and color images, along with hundreds of stereo-image pairs and three-dimensional digital elevation models. The HiRISE science team expects to process 1,000 extremely large, high-resolution images and 9,000 smaller, high-resolution images during the science phase of the MRO mission. It would take 1,200 typical computer screens to display just one large HiRISE image at full resolution. The HiRISE camera design is based on the high-resolution imaging technology proven successful by the Deep Impact and Quickbird spacecraft and several Hubble Space Telescope instruments.
“HiRISE is an important instrument in fulfilling the first steps of the new Vision for Space Exploration,” said Ball Aerospace President and CEO Dave Taylor. “We expect the HiRISE camera to provide very high quality imagery for both scientific research and NASA’s future mission planning,” Taylor said.
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) is scheduled to reach Mars in March 2006, when it will begin a six-month period of aerobraking to lower itself into the primary science orbit of averaging approximately 190 miles above the planet’s surface. The HiRISE camera and the other five science instruments are scheduled to begin operations after entering this science orbit in late 2006.
MRO is managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and was built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems.
Ball Corporation (NYSE: BLL) is a supplier of metal and plastic packaging products, primarily for the beverage and food industries. The company also owns Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., which develops sensors, spacecraft, systems and components for government and commercial markets. Ball Corporation employs more than 13,500 people and reported 2004 sales of $5.4 billion.
The information in this news release contains "forward-looking" statements and other statements concerning future events and financial performance. Words such as “expects,” “anticipates,” “estimates,” and variations of same and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied. The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Key risks and uncertainties are summarized in the company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, especially in Exhibit 99.2 in the most recent Form 10-K. These filings are available at our Web site and at www.sec.gov. Factors that might affect our packaging segments include fluctuation in consumer and customer demand; availability and cost of raw materials, particularly the recent significant increases in resin, steel, aluminum and energy costs, and the ability to pass such increases on to customers; competitive packaging availability, pricing and substitution; changes in climate and weather; fruit, vegetable and fishing yields; industry productive capacity and competitive activity; failure to achieve anticipated productivity improvements or production cost reductions, including those associated with our beverage can end project; the German mandatory deposit or other restrictive packaging laws; changes in major customer or supplier contracts or loss of a major customer or supplier; international business risks, including foreign exchange rates, tax rates and activities of foreign subsidiaries; and the effect of LIFO accounting on earnings. Factors that might affect aerospace segment include: funding, authorization and availability of government contracts and the nature and continuation of those contracts; and technical uncertainty associated with segment contracts. Factors that could affect the company as a whole include those listed plus: acquisitions, joint ventures or divestitures; regulatory action or laws including tax, environmental and workplace safety; governmental investigations; goodwill impairment; antitrust and other litigation; strikes; boycotts; labor cost changes; rates of return projected and earned on assets of the company's defined benefit retirement plans; reduced cash flow; interest rates affecting our debt; and changes to unaudited results due to statutory audits or management’s evaluation of the company’s internal control over financial reporting.