NASA’s Odyssey orbiter celebrates 20 years of mapping Mars

NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft passes above Mars’ south pole on this artist’s theory illustration. The spacecraft launched 20 years within the past on April 7, 2001. NASA/JPLThis week marks the 20th anniversary of the initiating of NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft, which has been in orbit around Mars since 2002. That makes it the longest-lived spacecraft sent to Mars, and it continues its work staring on the Martian floor.Truly apt one of Odyssey’s most indispensable discoveries changed into detecting subsurface ice on Mars. It detected ice beneath the shallow floor of the planet, and these readings had been later confirmed by the Phoenix lander.“Sooner than Odyssey, we didn’t know the attach aside this water changed into saved on this planet,” stated Project Scientist Jeffrey Plaut of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, which leads the Odyssey mission, in a assertion. “We detected it for the predominant time from orbit and later confirmed it changed into there using the Phoenix lander.”Discovering ice on Mars is pivotal for two reasons: In the origin, to realise the history of water on this planet and therefore if it might perhaps possibly once earn supported lifestyles, and secondly, to enable future crewed missions to the planet.Diverse achievements Odyssey has been a chunk of encompass unraveling the composition of Mars, with a international map made using its Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) instrument. No longer finest did this manufacture a map of the bottom, however it surely moreover gave details about what the bottom changed into silent of equivalent to rock, sand, or mud.The orbiter recordsdata has moreover been feeble to attend beget landing internet sites for Mars missions. THEMIS has identified hazards admire boulders to be kept away from, and its ice maps might perhaps very successfully be feeble to pin down a landing arena for an eventual crewed mission.“In the past 40 years Mars has long past from a purple dot within the sky to an international we’ve just about clutch practically moreover our fill,” stated Philip Christensen, THEMIS lead at Arizona Remark University, in a assertion. “Mars Odyssey and THEMIS earn played a most indispensable role in that transformation and it has been a colossal privilege to had been section of the exploration of Mars.”Odyssey is restful in operation and has ample propellant to final till 2025. It’s a ways anticipated to continue its work staring on the planet’s floor.“Mars is a in actuality dynamic and changing internet website online, so we hope that THEMIS and Odyssey will continue to examine up on the planet for lots of more years but to end,” stated Christensen. “Exploration continuously has surprises, so even after 20 years we never in actuality know what to be conscious for in each and each image we recall.”Editors’ SolutionsWe’re going to the purple planet! The total past, fresh, and future missions to MarsMars helicopter is off the bottom … however it surely’s now now not flying correct butMars helicopter survives first most indispensable field sooner than maiden flightNASA’s diversified Mars rover posts elegant selfie beside a rocky outcropHarvesting hydration: How future settlers will manufacture and gain water on MarsRead Extra