HP Imaging, Printing Technology Propels NASA to Surface of Mars

2/9/2004 - Broadening its support of the U.S. Space exploration and science program, HP (NYSE:HPQ) large-format printers are being used by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena to view high-resolution, color photos with vivid detail using HP color printing technology. Using these jumbo-sized print-outs, world-renowned scientists and engineers are able to see many of the highest-resolution images ever taken on the surface of another planet faster than ever before.

HP's commitment to space has been gaining momentum over the past 30 years beginning with Apollo and now continues with high-fidelity imagery, pushing the space agenda and propelling the next generation of space exploration to take man to the moon.

Late last week, the White House appointed HP Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Carly Fiorina to the U.S. Space Commission. Fiorina will join former Air Force Secretary Pete Aldridge on a commission charged with advising the White House on what sort of science agenda should be considered for the moon. One of eight appointees to the commission, Fiorina will contribute a broad range of high-tech expertise.

"Recognized for its combination of innovation, speed and relatively low downtime, the HP Designjet 5500 large-format printer is helping to enhance space exploration and to aid in developing topography information needed to map un-chartered areas of Earth," said Rob Wait, U.S. commercial marketing manager, Imaging and Printing Group, HP. "Each printer includes a roll of paper five feet wide and 100 feet long. So far, NASA has used six of the paper rolls."

The Mars photos are being taken by NASA's powerful robotic rovers, known as Spirit and Opportunity, which are each equipped with nine high-resolution stereo cameras to capture 360-degree color views on two different regions of Mars' surface.

Displayed on a velcro wall at the JPL site, the mosaic-like layout of the complete images includes 176 million individual picture elements, or pixels. One 39-foot long panorama provides a 360-degree, three-dimensional view of Spirit's landing site from the Gusev Crater on Mars.

Only three years ago it could take a full day to paste multiple images together to build a final layout. Today it takes less than an hour using HP Designjet 5500 large-format printers and other technology to share one complete image with project engineers, and eventually the general public.

In less than a month, the project has gone through 300 square feet of photo paper and 30 pints of ink.

HP technology is also an important tool, among others, in helping NASA determine where the two rovers have landed in this three-month-long project.

"It's a great day for photo imaging when you can closely support a scientific mission of this value and relevance to human kind," Wait said.

About HP
HP is a technology solutions provider to consumers, businesses and institutions globally. The company's offerings span IT infrastructure, personal computing and access devices, global services and imaging and printing. For the fiscal year ending on Oct. 31, 2003, HP revenue totaled $73.1 billion. More information about HP is available at http://www.hp.com.

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