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Mars Odyssey

Mars Odyssey mission graphic

2001 Mars Odyssey orbiter

Phase: Operating

Launch Date: April 07, 2001

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Program(s):Mars Exploration

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Still in orbit around Mars, NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft has collected thousands of images and continues to send information to Earth about Martian geology, climate, and mineralogy.

Measurements by Odyssey have enabled scientists to create maps of minerals and chemical elements and identify regions with buried water ice. Images that measure the surface temperature have provided spectacular views of Martian topography.

Odyssey Views A Surface Changed by Floods
Odyssey Views A Surface Changed by FloodsChannels scoured by ancient outbursts of flood waters are seen in this orbital view from Odyssey's Thermal Emission Imaging System. The channels are billions of years old and have likely been affected by multiple processes over time. Here, two channels, Tiu Vallis on the left and Ares Vallis on the right, flow northward from the highlands of the southern hemisphere of Mars.

The stark difference between today's cold, dry Mars and the evidence of flood waters in the past tells scientists that the Martian climate has seen great changes. Unraveling the workings of that climate history is one of the major challenges in Mars science.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU

Early in the mission, Odyssey determined that radiation in low-Mars orbit -- an essential piece of information for eventual human exploration because of its potential health effects -- is twice that in low-Earth orbit. Odyssey has provided vital support to ongoing exploration of Mars by relaying data from the Mars rovers to Earth via the spacecraft's UHF antenna.

Mars Odyssey was launched April 7, 2001 and reached Mars on October 24, 2001. The primary science mission continued through August 2004 and Odyssey is currently in its extended mission. Odyssey also serves as a communications relay for the Mars Exploration Rovers (Spirit and Opportunity) and future missions.

This mission is part of the Mars Exploration Program.