Monday, September 14, 2015

Odyssey Passes 60,000 Mars Orbits

In June, NASA’s Mars Odyssey reached a milestone of 60,000 orbits since it arrived at the Red Planet in 2001. In those 14 years the orbiter has mapped Mars at high resolution, discovered that water ice is common in the martian subsurface, and provided data and communications support for other Mars missions. 

This image shows, in false colour, the region around Gale Crater, which Mars Science Laboratory’s Curiosity rover is currently exploring. This mosaic is made from Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) images used to pick out distinct surface mineralogies. Here pink indicates wind-blown dust, purple basaltic rocks. Mars’s surface typically appears grey-green; the blue tones of Gale Crater’s central Mount Sharp – a target for Curiosity – suggest distinct rock types there. 
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Arizona State University

This image is published in the August 2015 issue of Astronomy & Geophysics.

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