[meteorite-list] Mars Odyssey's First Look At Mars Is All Treat, No Trick
From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:48:14 2004
Headquarters, Washington Oct. 31, 2001
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
MARS ODYSSEY'S FIRST LOOK AT MARS IS ALL TREAT, NO TRICK
NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey gave mission managers a real
treat this Halloween with its first look at the Red Planet.
It's a thermal infrared image of the Martian southern
hemisphere that captures the polar carbon dioxide ice cap at
a temperature of about minus 120 C (minus 184 F).
The spacecraft first entered orbit around Mars last week
after a six-month, 285 million-mile journey.
The image, taken as part of the calibration process for the
instrument, shows the nighttime temperatures of Mars,
demonstrating the "night-vision" capability of the camera
system to observe Mars, even when the surface is in darkness.
"This spectacular first image of Mars from the 2001 Mars
Odyssey spacecraft is just a hint of what's to come," said
Dr. Ed Weiler, Associate Administrator for Space Science at
NASA Headquarters in Washington. "After we get Odyssey into
its final orbit it will be much closer to Mars than when it
took this image, and we'll be able to tell whether or not
there are any hot springs on Mars, places where liquid water
may be close to the surface. If there are any such locations
they would be places we might like to explore on future
The image covers a length of more than 6,500 kilometers
(3,900 miles), spanning the planet from limb to limb, with a
resolution of approximately 5.5 kilometers per pixel (3.4
miles per pixel), at the point directly beneath the
The spacecraft was about 22,000 kilometers (about 13,600
miles) above the planet looking down toward the south pole of
Mars when the image was taken.
It is late spring in the Martian southern hemisphere. The
extremely cold, circular feature shown in blue is the Martian
south polar carbon dioxide ice cap , which is more than 900
kilometers (540 miles) in diameter at this time and will
continue to shrink as summer progresses. Clouds of cooler air
blowing off the cap can be seen in orange extending across
JPL manages the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission for NASA's Office
of Space Science. The thermal-emission imaging system was
developed at Arizona State University, Tempe, with Raytheon
Santa Barbara Remote Sensing, Santa Barbara, Calif. Lockheed
Martin Astronautics, Denver, is the prime contractor for the
project, and developed and built the orbiter. Mission
operations are conducted jointly from Lockheed Martin and
from JPL, a division of the California Institute of
Technology in Pasadena.
The Mars Odyssey image is available on the Internet at:
Received on Wed 31 Oct 2001 04:54:51 PM PST