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Newest: Dec 18, 2013
The HAND, a gauge of Russian design and manufacture at the USA's Mars Odysseus station, discovered water ice on Mars back in March 2002, expert Igor Mitrofanov said to Novosti. Laboratory head at the Space Research Institute under the Russian Academy of Sciences, he led HAND design and a related experiment. Neutron flows from Mars have been mapped by now. The available global maps have a resolving power of 200 to 300 kilometres. Neutron flows allow to spot water at great distance, explained our informant.
As we celebrate Spirit's success, another of our robotic friends is celebrating an anniversary of sorts. Last week, NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter reached an important milestone: a full Mars year (687 Earth days) of science mapping. "Before you send any landers to Mars, you want to look at the planet as a whole. We call that 'global reconnaissance,'" said Bob Mase, Odyssey Mission Manager.
The US space agency says one of the instruments on its Mars Odyssey craft has been shut down by a solar flare. The instrument, designed to assess the hazards humans would face if they ever went to the planet, has not worked since a solar storm on 28 October.
Intense solar activity last month shut down a radiation-measuring instrument aboard NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey orbiter and controllers have been unable to put it back in operation, NASA said Wednesday. The instrument was designed to collect data for evaluating the risks future Mars-bound astronauts would face from space radiation.
Intense solar activity last month shut down a radiation-measuring instrument aboard NASA’s 2001 Mars Odyssey orbiter and controllers have been unable to put it back in operation, NASA said Wednesday.
The martian radiation environment experiment on NASA’s 2001 Mars Odyssey orbiter has collected data continuously from the start of the Odyssey mapping mission in March 2002 until late last month. The instrument has successfully monitored space radiation to evaluate the risks to future Mars-bound astronauts. Its measurements are the first of their kind to be obtained during an interplanetary cruise and in orbit around another planet.
NASA's Mars Odyssey team has released another significant installment of science data for the public and science community to review and analyze. "The three instrument suites onboard Odyssey continue to produce excellent data," said Jeffrey Plaut, Project Scientist for the mission.
High school students in computer graphics courses at Mountainland Applied Technology College are helping a NASA mission to Mars. "I'm excited but a little nervous," said Shaun Watson, 17, a Provo High School senior. "It's going to be so big and everyone's going to be relying on us." Students in two MATC multimedia courses will serve as one of 54 Mars Exploration Student Data Teams, assisting NASA as two rovers launched last summer land on the red planet in January and begin exploring.
Mars was once wet. Or was it dry? Different minerals tell different stories of the planet's aquatic history. And those contradictions are among the results published in the journal Science today based on the observations of the Odyssey spacecraft. NASA's Mars orbiter was launched in 2001 from Cape Canaveral. During its studies, Odyssey spotted the minerals hematite and olivine at different spots on Mars. One forms in the presence of water. The other quickly weathers away in water. There's the dilemma.
A new view of the geology of the Red Planet is emerging from data gathered by the Mars Odyssey (MO) spacecraft which has been observing the Red Planet for a year. The probe is providing a new understanding about the composition of Mars' surface rocks, geological history, radiation levels and potential landing sites for rovers. "In just one year, Mars Odyssey has fundamentally changed our understanding of the nature of the materials on and below the surface of Mars," says Jeffrey Plaut, Odyssey's project scientist.
NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft has transformed the way scientists are looking at the red planet. "In just one year, Mars Odyssey has fundamentally changed our understanding of the nature of the materials on and below the surface of Mars," said Dr. Jeffrey Plaut, Odyssey's project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
If the water-ice hidden just below the Martian surface were to melt, it would create a planet-wide sea ankle-deep, scientists have said. The latest findings from the Mars Odyssey spacecraft now in orbit around the Red Planet were released here at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The spacecraft's instruments have been trained on the Martian soil for nearly a year.
Of course, Mars has no reasonable-sized moon to light the night or add romance to a lover's stroll. Its two small companions hasten across the sky like fireflies and the surface below remains dark and cold, but there are degrees of cold, and the THEMIS Infra-Red (IR) Camera on NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft is sensitive to the different wavelengths of IR light, from which we can measure the surface temperature both at night and day.
The latest observations from NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft, highlighting water ice distribution and infrared images of the Red Planet's surface, are being released this week at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.
Visitors to the Smithsonian Institution's National Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C., expect to see historic pieces from humankind's quest to conquer the sky and the dark realm beyond. But a new exhibit brings visitors to the forefront of space exploration as it is happening now. The exhibit, which is on display indefinitely, features the latest images from the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) aboard NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft, which is now orbiting Mars. Controlled by a team at Arizona State University (ASU), THEMIS records daytime and nighttime images of the martian surface at visible and infrared wavelengths. This information provides insight about temperature changes on the surface, as well as the planet's mineralogy and topography.
Dr. Jeffrey Plaut has been named project scientist for NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey mission, succeeding Dr. R. Stephen Saunders who has retired. Plaut had been the deputy project scientist for Odyssey. Plaut came to JPL in 1991 and has served on the Magellan mission to Venus and three space shuttle radar missions. He is currently the co-principal investigator on the 2003 Mars Express radar sounder and a team member on the 2005 Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter radar team.
Visitors to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air & Space Museum are getting a firsthand look at the research capabilities of ASU. The work done in ASU’s Planetary Imaging Facility, led by ASU Korrick Professor of Geology Phil Christensen, is getting major attention as part of a new exhibit at the museum, located in Washington, D.C. The exhibit, on display indefinitely, features never before seen images as they are downloaded directly from the 2001 Mars Odyssey Spacecraft, which is currently orbiting Mars. “Going through the museum as a kid and seeing everything from Spirit of St. Louis to the Apollo 11 space capsule was a remarkable experience,” says Christensen. “Having our Mars images on display in the same museum is a real thrill for me, and gives excellent exposure to the entire ASU THEMIS Team.”
The young and young at heart can take part in Mars exploration, whether by naming two red planet rovers or sending their names along with them. The Planetary Society and NASA have teamed up to sponsor a contest for students to name two rovers expected to launch in the summer of 2003. The competition is open to children between the ages of 5 and 18 in kindergarten to the 12th grade in U.S. schools. The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2003.
Like any travelers worth their frequent flyer miles, the twin rovers of the Mars Exploration Rover Mission must prepare for a long journey. Unlike airline passengers, however, the rovers won't have an attentive flight crew to tend to their needs. Instead, the twins face a daunting 460 million kilometer (286 million mile) voyage to Mars. To ensure their readiness, scientists and engineers at JPL are testing the rovers by simulating conditions they'll experience en route to and upon arrival at the red planet.
November 14, 2002 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (UTC - 8 Hours) Join the Principal Investigators for the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission as they explain Odyssey's initial discoveries and take questions from schools, museums and employees at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory during a live interactive webcast broadcast from JPL's von Karman auditorium.
A permanent cache of frozen water probably lies underneath the seasonal cap of carbon dioxide that covers the north pole of Mars, planetary scientists announced Tuesday. The conclusion is based on data from a NASA satellite orbiting the red planet, the Mars Odyssey, which watched the seasonal polar cap shrink between winter and spring this year.
NASA has released the first set of data taken by the Mars Odyssey spacecraft to the Planetary Data System, which will now make the information available to research scientists through a new online distribution and access system. "This release is a major milestone for Mars scientists worldwide, since the first validated data from our instruments are now available to the entire scientific community," said Dr. R. Stephen Saunders, the Odyssey project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "There are fundamentally new kinds of information in these data sets, including day and night infrared images, maps of hydrogen in the soil, and radiation hazard data for future Mars missions."
In today's release from the NASA/ASU/THEMIS team, an image showing the floor of the Hellas Basin, there is an apparently "low-key" announcement of liquid water on the surface of Mars.
The outspoken Robert H. Williams explores his personal battles with NASA, including the filing of a Freedom Of Information Act request which led to his termination from teaching at a New York state university. Also, why hasn't NASA/ASU released the raw data from Odyssey after 6 months, as their contract states they must?
Vast reservoirs of underground ice on the Red Planet and other exciting discoveries by Mars Odyssey will be reviewed in Honolulu this week by the team that developed the spacecraft's key instrument. "We were really surprised at just how much ice was buried just inches beneath the surface," William Boynton, of the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Institute, said in an interview here. Mars Odyssey was launched by NASA on April 7 last year and is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It carries a Gamma Ray Spectrometer -- three instruments in one -- designed to analyze the chemical composition of Mars' surface and detect water at shallow depths.
Every morning, I go to Mars, Dr. Nathalie Cabrol says with a smile as she stands before a collage of Mars images in a darkened auditorium. Everyone is listening. And, with Nathalie, they go to Mars to see the craters, volcanoes, terraces, sedimentary layers, boulders, dried up ponds and washes. Time flies, and when the lights come up, Nathalie's excitement and passion have drawn even more people to the joys of exploring Mars.
NASA's Mars Odyssey has passed a major mechanical hurdle, deploying on June 4 a long mast that is capped by scientific sensors. The science gear is critical in determining the elemental makeup of the Martian surface.
Using instruments on NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft, surprised scientists have found enormous quantities of buried treasure lying just under the surface of Mars -- enough water ice to fill Lake Michigan twice over. And that may be only the tip of the iceberg. "This is really amazing," says William Boynton of the University of Arizona. "This is the best direct evidence we have of subsurface water ice on Mars." Indeed, he added, "what we have found is much more ice than we ever expected." "It may be better to characterize this layer as dirty ice rather than as dirt containing ice," notes Boynton. The amount of hydrogen detected corresponds to 20% to 50% ice by mass in the lower layer. Because rock has a greater density than ice, this amount is more than 50 percent water ice by volume. This means that if one heated a full bucket of this ice-rich polar soil it would result in more than half a bucket of liquid water.
The NASA spacecraft Odyssey's measurements of the planet Mars' huge cache of subsurface ice is yet another piece of data shoring up a controversial claim based on information found by the dual Viking landers in the 1970s. Not only is water ice an elixir for Martian life, it will help support human explorers of the future. Gilbert Levin, now CEO of Spherix Incorporated in Beltsville, Maryland, is long-time advocate that his Viking experiment did find Mars life. Levin has also long supported a view that liquid water exists on the surface of Mars.
Using instruments on NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft, surprised scientists have found enormous quantities of buried treasure lying just under the surface of Mars -- enough water ice to fill Lake Michigan twice over. And that may just be the tip of the iceberg. "This is really amazing. This is the best direct evidence we have of subsurface water ice on Mars. We were hopeful that we could find evidence of ice, but what we have found is much more ice than we ever expected," said Dr. William Boynton, principal investigator for Odyssey's gamma ray spectrometer suite at the University of Arizona, Tucson.
When the Mars Observer spacecraft disappeared into the cold void of space nine years ago, it broke Bill Feldman's heart. Feldman, 62, a Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist, had worked since 1984 to develop an instrument for the spacecraft called a neutron spectrometer. There was no room to fit the instrument, which is smaller than a shoe box and weighs about 8 pounds, on subsequent missions to the planet until the Mars Odyssey spacecraft. It took nearly a decade, but Feldman finally got a second chance with Odyssey, which was launched in early 2001 and successfully reached orbit in October. A few months ago, the instrument returned some surprising results - including showing that hydrogen, which many think indicates water, is more abundant on Mars than previously believed.
There is a dark side to Mars. Experts studying the reddish globe in the infrared see a wonderland of nighttime surprise. Through the art of sunless science, researchers are trying to discern whether Mars is a percolating planet of still huffing volcanoes and hot shot geysers. Since nudging itself into a science orbit around the planet in February, NASA's Mars Odyssey has been busily snapping images of martian terrain in both infrared and visible light. That job belongs to the probe's Thermal Emission Imaging System - better known in spectral splendor shorthand as THEMIS. "It's like wearing night vision goggles. With the nighttime infrared…it's a whole new planet," said James Rice, senior ASU Mars scientist on Odyssey's THEMIS team. "It's the star of the show. I think that probably the major discoveries will come out of the infrared. I had no clue we'd be seeing things like we're seeing," he said.
There is good reason Mars is named after the Roman god of war. It has been a battle getting to and researching the elusive red planet. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, continues to lead NASA's exploration of Mars. In a pair of free lectures titled "The Odyssey to Mars," JPL's newly appointed Mars Odyssey project manager, Roger Gibbs, will discuss the challenges of Mars exploration. The first lecture will be held May 9 at JPL, and the second on May 10 at Pasadena City College. A Webcast of the lecture will be available at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 9.
What a year this has been for the Mars Odyssey team! The excitement of launch last April 7, the arrival at Mars, the long, sometimes tedious aerobraking concluded so successfully, the beginning of the mapping phase .... The detailed pictures the camera system is taking, letting scientists get closer and closer to Mars' mysteries .... The evidence from the gamma ray spectrometer showing more hydrogen in Mars' southern hemisphere than was known before .... The drama of the martian radiation environment experiment - as it turned out, the instrument was just taking a long nap ....
The search for water on the planet Mars and with it, possible forms of life, is one of the main tasks of the NASA space probe "Mars Odyssey 2001". And after its initial exploratory work, all the doubts have been removed, to the excitement of the scientific community. "There is a great deal of ice on Mars. The signals we're receiving are loud and clear," said jubilant planetary scientist William Boynton at the first press conference by the U.S. space agency NASA about the start of the probe's work.
Scientists are releasing a picture each weekday from the Mars Odyssey spacecraft. Odyssey's Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) captures the images as the craft orbits Mars. The photos are not yet fully calibrated for scientific use, and so no science findings are being discussed, said researchers who operate the camera from Arizona State University.
NASA officials this week released the first of what could be a daily flow of images of the Red Planet, snapped by a camera aboard the Mars Odyssey spacecraft.
Mars is now open for daily sightseeing. Beginning March 27, recent images of Mars taken by the camera onboard NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft will be available to the public on the Internet. A new, "uncalibrated" image taken by the visible light camera will be posted at 7 a.m. (Pacific) daily, Monday through Friday.
A group of small, unnamed craters in the martian southern hemisphere is the first site captured by a group of middle school students who are operating the camera system onboard NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft this week. The acquisition of the image marks the beginning of the Mars Student Imaging Project, a science education program funded by NASA and its Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., and operated by the Mars Education Program at Arizona State University, Tempe. The project gives thousands of fifth to 12th grade students the opportunity to do real-life planetary exploration and to study planetary geology using Odyssey’s visible-light camera.
Flight controllers for NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft report the martian radiation environment experiment began gathering science data today after their troubleshooting efforts successfully reestablished communications with the instrument. Engineers have been working since late February, trying a variety of techniques to communicate with the instrument, which stopped working in August. The results of their tests indicate the problem may be related to a memory error in the onboard software of the radiation instrument.
Scientists gathered at the 33rd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference to review increasing amounts of data streaming out of NASA’s Mars Odyssey as it orbits the red planet are overjoyed now that a balky radiation experiment on the probe is back in operation. That hardware is built to yield environmental data for plotting future human expeditions to the planet. Just a few weeks into probing enigmatic Mars, Odyssey has also begun sensor sweeps of prospective touchdown spots for two Mars Exploration Rovers to be launched next year.
A new generation of Mars student scientists will release their first results at a press briefing scheduled for noon EST (10 a.m. Arizona Time) on Wednesday, March 20 at the Mars Space Flight Facility at Arizona State University. Eighteen students, including 11 sixth and seventh graders from Danvers, Illinois, and 7 high school students from Nogales, Arizona, will talk about their experiences and show their results as the first of thousands of participants in NASA's Mars Student Imaging Project. The project is a NASA-funded science education program that allows elementary, middle and high school classes to do real-life planetary exploration and study using NASA's Mars Odyssey's Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) visible light camera.
Not that Michelle Kwan should join NASA, but it would appear that the surface of Mars has a lot more frozen water than previously thought. Initial data from NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft, which began its mapping mission last week, include tentative identification of significant, but as yet unquantified, amounts of frozen water. Whether that means frozen puddles and ponds or ice crystals mixed into the top layer of soil remains to be seen. "We're actually detecting a deficit of neutrons emerging from the surface, and just about the only thing that can cause that is hydrogen atoms," Jeffrey Plaut, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's deputy project scientist for the Odyssey mission, told NewsFactor.
NASA's Odyssey spacecraft is putting Mars on the chart. Global mapping of the distant, dusty, and baffling world is underway, with first results from Mars Odyssey helping to sharpen future robotic exploration plans, and may hasten the day when human explorers reach out for the red planet. Early looks by the Mars orbiting craft suggest that high amounts of hydrogen exist below surface level in the south polar region of the planet. That hydrogen is likely in the form of water ice, scientists speculate. If so, that frozen layer could, quite literally, put life on ice - a cryo-preserved abode for Mars biology. Moreover, water ice found prevalent across Mars means that expeditionary crews of the 21st century would find a "user-friendly" world - a planet far easier to explore in a sustained and more expansive way.
Mission managers are ready to publicly share the first images and science results from NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey, which is currently in orbit around the red planet. A briefing is scheduled for 2 p.m. EST Friday, March 1, at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, California.
Scientists today unveiled maps that detail the location of hydrogen, that may indicate water-ice, just below Mars' surface. The maps are based on data from a neutron spectrometer built at the Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory and flown aboard NASA's Mars Odyssey now in orbit around the Red planet. The data are supported by simultaneous measurements made using the Mars Odyssey's gamma-ray spectrometer.
Initial science data from NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft, which began its mapping mission last week, portend some tantalizing findings by the newest Martian visitor, including possible identification of significant amounts of frozen water. "We are delighted with the quality of data we're seeing," said Dr. Steve Saunders, Odyssey project scientist at JPL. "We'll use it to build on what we've learned from Mars Global Surveyor and other missions. Now we may actually see water rather than guessing where it is or was. And with the thermal images we are able to examine surface geology from a new perspective." "These preliminary Odyssey observations are the 'tip of the iceberg' of the science results that are soon to come, so stay tuned," said Dr. Jim Garvin, lead scientist of the Mars Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
The first ever night image of Mars was released by NASA today during a press conference that marked a promising new era of discovery at the Red Planet. While also announcing fresh evidence of water ice near the surface of Mars, scientists were surprised by the quality of Odyssey's new images and by what they're seeing on the surface of Mars. "We had no idea what to expect," said Phillip Christensen of Arizona State University. "We're startled by the diversity."
Let the Odyssey begin! That is the theme underscoring the excitement shared by scientists analyzing new data relayed from the Mars Odyssey spacecraft as it orbits the red planet. However, Mars Odyssey investigators remain tight-lipped about what the spacecraft is seeing, offering only subtle hints regarding the probe's scientific sleuthing. Early findings from NASA's Mars Odyssey are to be detailed Friday at a science briefing, held at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.
Mars Odyssey today is a step closer toward its mission of mapping the Red Planet. Odyssey is carrying the Gamma Ray Spectrometer (GRS), built under the direction of Professor William V. Boynton at the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. The GRS is a suite of three instruments: the Gamma Subsystem, built by the UA, the Neutron Spectrometer, built by Los Alamos National Laboratory and the High Energy Neutron Detector, built by the Space Research Institute, Moscow. Boynton and other Mars Odyssey scientists will detail their science objectives Friday, March 1, at a news conference to be telecast from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
A new Mars satellite turned on its scientific instruments this week, kicking off a mapping mission in search of hot spots and hidden water on the red planet. The Mars Odyssey flicked on its visible and infrared camera, and a spectrometer that can detect more than one dozen elements, including hydrogen, which could indicate the presence of frozen water underground, according to NASA.
NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft has begun its science mapping mission. The spacecraft turned its science instruments toward Mars on Monday, February 18. Flight controllers report that the thermal emission imaging system was turned on this morning. The camera system, which takes both visible and infrared images, will go through a period of calibration before the first science images are taken during the next few days. The first images will be released at a news conference on March 1.
NASA took the Mars Odyssey spacecraft for a test run Monday for five orbits' worth of science measurements. So far, results indicate hydrogen in the surface of the Martian southern hemisphere. Click for a larger graphic showing how a virtual shovel digs for elements on Mars. "It's beautiful," said William Feldman, a scientist with Los Alamos National Laboratory who operates the neutron spectrometer instrument on Odyssey. "Everything is very preliminary because we don't have enough to make a map yet." A full map of Mars' surface elements will take about a week.
NASA's Odyssey spacecraft, which recently settled into its proper orbit around Mars, has now deployed an antenna that is needed for high-speed data downloads to Earth. The high-gain communications antenna, as it is called, was unfurled at 10:29 ET Tuesday, Feb. 5. The act is on of the final steps required to get the probe ready to begin science missions. The antenna boom was deployed to its latched position with a motor-driven hinge and locked into place as expected, officials said Wednesday. The high-gain antenna is 1.3 meters (4.3 feet) in diameter, with a parabolic shape. The antenna can transmit at data rates as high as 110 thousand bits per second.
NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft settled into its final orbit Wednesday and is now prepared to begin its science mission. The craft reached Mars Oct. 23 and engineers have been gradually refining its orbit from an elongated one that took the craft far from the Red Planet to a nearly circular one that is 249 miles (400-kilometers) above the planet. "We are now in our final mapping orbit and we don't expect to perform any additional maneuvers to change the orbit," said Bob Mase, Odyssey's lead navigator at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
NASA’s Mars Odyssey is ready to start science duties as it circles the Red Planet. The spacecraft completed a set of aerobraking maneuvers January 11 following weeks of dipping in and out of Mars’ thin atmosphere in order to tighten its orbit around the planet. An upcoming and key event is deployment of Odyssey’s high-gain antenna. That equipment is crucial in relaying to Earth quantities of data to be gleaned by the spacecraft’s science instruments. The antenna is to be released and deployed with a motor-driven hinge. Release of the high-gain antenna is to occur after a final adjustment of Odyssey’s orbit takes place. That small adjustment is tagged an "orbit freeze" maneuver. This tweaking of Odyssey’s orbit is being done to avoid the remote chance it could smack into another orbiting spacecraft – the Mars Global Surveyor.
Last week, flight controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., breathed a collective sigh of relief. Although in 1999 they had lost the last two spacecraft that journeyed to Mars, their current mission to the Red Planet had completed a risky maneuver, using the friction of the Martian atmosphere to begin settling into its designated orbit 400 kilometers above the surface. Early next month, if all continues according to plan, the Mars Odyssey craft will begin a 2-year exploration of the composition of the Martian surface, hunt for near-surface deposits of water, and examine the planet's radiation background. Odyssey embarks on its mission at a time when questions about past and present conditions on the planet, including its water content and ability to harbor life, seem more puzzling than ever. "We're in state of maximal confusion," says planetary geologist David A. Paige of the University of California, Los Angeles.
Flight controllers for NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft sent commands overnight to raise the spacecraft up out of the atmosphere and conclude the aerobraking phase of the mission. At 12:18 a.m. Pacific time Jan. 11, Odyssey fired its small thrusters for 244 seconds, changing its speed by 20 meters per second (45 miles per hour) and raising its orbit by 85 kilometers (53 miles). The closest point in Odyssey's orbit, called the periapsis, is now 201 kilometers (125 miles) above the surface of Mars. The farthest point in the orbit, called the apoapsis, is at an altitude of 500 kilometers (311 miles). During the next few weeks, flight controllers will refine the orbit until the spacecraft reaches its final mapping altitude, a 400-kilometer (249-mile) circular orbit.
The Martian atmosphere is about to stop being such a drag on a Colorado-built spacecraft. By January 11th, controllers will stop dipping the 2001 Mars Odyssey into the Red Planet's dusty atmosphere -- a process called aerobraking that is used to slow a spacecraft and round out its orbit without using precious fuel. The 11 weeks of maneuvers have shortened Odyssey's lap time from 18 1/2 hours, when it went into Martian orbit on Oct. 23, to just under two hours.
One space station drops into the ocean and another rises in the sky. A probe lands on an asteroid while a second bids farewell from deep space. A tourist goes into orbit. A NASA chief calls it quits. These are just some of the big stories that came from the heavens in the year 2001, which witnessed a dramatic expansion in our scientific understanding and a sobering contraction in space funding.
Flight controllers of NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey mission report that the aerobraking phase is proceeding right on schedule and should be completed in early January. During the aerobraking phase of the mission, the spacecraft is controlled so it skims the upper reaches of the martian atmosphere on each orbit, to reduce the vehicle's speed. Today, Odyssey's orbital period is three hours and 15 minutes, compared with the initial 18-and-a-half hours when the spacecraft first entered orbit in October. The orbital period is the time required to complete one revolution around the planet.
Three spacecraft, including one at Mars, teamed up to make a unique deep-space observation of a colossal energy burst. The Earth-orbiting satellite BeppoSAX, the solar-spying Ulysses, and NASA's Mars Odyssey combined to detect a brief yet intense gamma ray burst. The trio of observations was the first of its kind. With three observations, scientists can "triangulate" the location and distance of an object. The accuracy of the measurements becomes greater when the distance between the crafts grows.
If Santa Claus were a martian, he'd be in for one bumpy ride. That's the assessment of navigators and engineers controlling the flight of NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft as it currently flies four times daily above the north polar region of Mars. "If he were flying above the North Pole of Mars, my advice to Santa would be 'Hang tight onto your reins,'" said Odyssey navigator John C. Smith. "You could be in for a rough ride." In the midst of aerobraking maneuvers that are lowering the spacecraft's orbit around Mars, the Odyssey team has discovered an unexpected and somewhat unpredictable north polar atmospheric disturbance that is making the job a real adventure, Smith said.
The music on this web site was created by Vangelis, as art of a longer composition that he calls "Mythodea: Music for NASA's Mars Odyssey Mission." Mars Odyssey team members wanted to know more, so we asked Vangelis a few questions about his personal connection to Mars and music.
The Mars Odyssey spacecraft has uncovered preliminary yet tantalizing evidence for water near the surface of Mars and away from the permanently frozen north polar ice cap. Scientists already know there is water ice in the polar cap. But water ice near the surface in warmer regions of the planet would be a remarkable and long-sought finding that would have broad implications in the search for extraterrestrial life and for the possibility of human exploration of Mars.
The Mars Odyssey spacecraft has uncovered preliminary yet tantalizing evidence for water near the surface of Mars and away from the permanently frozen north polar ice cap. Scientists already know there is water ice in the polar cap. But water ice near the surface in warmer regions of the planet would be a remarkable and long-sought finding that would have broad implications in the search for extraterrestrial life and for the possibility of human exploration of Mars. The data, collected during tests of Odyssey's neutron spectrometer, show signs of hydrogen, which may or may not mean there is water. Hydrogen is one component of water but also exists alone and in other substances.
The Mars Odyssey (MO) spacecraft has made its first significant discovery: it has detected large deposits of hydrogen - possibly water - near the Red Planet's poles. American space agency (Nasa) scientists said they were excited by the initial indications of hydrogen deposits, describing the readings sent back as clearer, more definite and much earlier than had been expected.
As NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft neared completion Wednesday of its 100th orbit of the Red Planet, scientists had to contend with a surprisingly fickle Martian atmosphere in guiding and slowing the robotic probe. Odyssey entered orbit around Mars on Oct. 23. Since then, scientists have guided the spacecraft on a series of controlled skims through the atmosphere, using the drag provided by the carbon dioxide-rich shroud to slow the spacecraft and shape its orbit. From orbit to orbit, however, scientists have discovered wider than expected swings in the density of the Martian atmosphere as the probe passes over the planet at varying latitudes, longitudes and altitudes. The changes in density seen so far have been up to 100 percent and have been most dramatic over the north pole.
The Mars Odyssey (MO) spacecraft has made its first significant discovery: it has detected large deposits of hydrogen - possibly water - near the Red Planet's poles. Reporting MO's preliminary observations, scientists said the first pass by the probe's neutron spectrometer had revealed evidence of the element in soil at high latitudes. "It is big," Bill Feldman, of Los Alamos National Laboratory, said of the strength of the signal picked up by Odyssey. The results indicate large amounts of hydrogen on the surface, a likely sign of water-ice. The observations "are precisely what you would expect for a very hydrogen-rich environment", Feldman said.
Flight controllers for NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft report that Odyssey has reduced its orbit period to just under 10 hours. The orbit period is the time it takes the spacecraft to make one revolution around the planet. During each aerobraking pass, when the spacecraft skims the atmosphere to alter its orbit, Odyssey's closest approach, known as the periapsis, is just 103 kilometers (64 miles) above the Martian surface. Its farthest point from the planet, known as the apoapsis, is now 15,300 kilometers (9,500 miles).
Now that the Mars Odyssey spacecraft has returned its first pictures, showing that its cameras work, it officially joins a long list of spacecraft that have studied whether or not water does or ever did exist at or near the surface of the Red Planet. But what will Odyssey do that hasn't already been done? And why do we need yet another robotic probe orbiting Mars? Shouldn't we be sending geologists by now? And hey, isn't the real question, is there life on Mars?
NASA's Mars Odyssey has encountered a strange, unexpected phenomenon as it slips over the red planet's north polar region. An intense polar vortex has been detected, causing Mars' atmosphere to be less dense than predicted for that area. Likened to a jet stream on Earth, the baffling high-latitude, planet-circling vortex is being carefully eyed by scientists. To what degree the newly found vortex alters the tempo of aerobraking is being evaluated.
This picture shows both a visible and a thermal infrared image taken by the thermal emission imaging system on NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft on November 2, 2001. The images were taken as part of the ongoing calibration and testing of the camera system as the spacecraft orbited Mars on its 13th revolution of the planet.
NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft has now entered the main aerobraking phase of the mission. "The initial phase of aerobraking has gone exceedingly well. By skimming through the upper reaches of the Mars atmosphere during each orbit, we have reduced our orbital period by more than three hours in the past two weeks," said David A. Spencer, the Odyssey mission manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Odyssey's orbital period, the time required for the spacecraft to complete one revolution in its orbit around Mars, is currently 15 hours.
NASA scientists are studying the first picture of the red planet beamed down from the Mars Odyssey spacecraft. The test thermal image shows a 1,300-mile-wide (2,400-kilometer-wide) swath of the south pole, including portions of its frozen cap of water and carbon dioxide ice.
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 missions."
The Odyssey spacecraft, now settling into orbit around Mars, will be hunting for water - the key nutrient for past or present life. But the spacecraft can neither see nor smell its quarry. How will Odyssey scientists know when they have found it? This part of the mission is an exercise in indirect detection. Instead of looking for water itself, a suite of instruments will look for gamma rays and neutrons emitted by hydrogen. The Odyssey team assumes that hydrogen at or near the Martian surface probably will be locked in water molecules. It's the "H" in "H2O."
The first image of Mars from NASA's Odyssey spacecraft was released today, showing a strip of the Red Planet as seen by the craft's infrared camera and showing mission managers that the camera works as planned. The camera, one of two onboard Odyssey, measures heat instead of visible light. "The image exceeded our expectations," said Greg Mehall, lead engineer for the instrument at Arizona State University. "Everything looked very, very good. The instrument's health and telemetry looked good."
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 south polar carbon dioxide ice cap at a temperature of about minus 120 C (minus 184 F). The image, taken as part of the calibration and testing 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.
The Mars Odyssey spacecraft took its first photograph of Mars Tuesday, a "thermal infrared" picture that shows differences in heat on the Red Planet. The image is expected be released later this week after it has been processed, according to a NASA press release. No firm release date was set.
NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft has delayed its first photo shoot of the Red Planet until at least Tuesday after scientists decided to slow the spacecraft's entry into the atmosphere, a mission official said Sunday. The slowing is not the result of any problems with the unmanned probe that reached Mars and entered orbit last Tuesday, said mission manager David Spencer of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Tune in Tuesday, Oct. 30 at 10am Pacific time for "Live from Mars," an educational program airing on NASA TV and many PBS stations nationwide. The program, also being webcast from JPL, will explain Mars Odyssey's orbit insertion and its future science mission. Odyssey team members will also discuss how this mission fits in with NASA's larger Mars exploration program.
A collective sigh of relief could be heard around the corridors of Cornell University's Space Sciences Building late Tuesday night when the Mars Odyssey spacecraft went into orbit around Mars. The main reason for the jubilation: The small robotic spacecraft will be the key communications link for the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission in 2003.
An exultant NASA boasted Wednesday that it "hit a bull's-eye" after its Mars Odyssey spacecraft slipped flawlessly into orbit around the Red Planet. The space agency's two previous Mars missions, both in 1999, were humiliating failures.
University of Hawaii planetary scientists are relieved and elated that NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft is orbiting around the Red Planet. "We are eagerly awaiting the first data coming back," said Peter Mouginis-Mark, Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology professor and researcher. The spacecraft's successful orbit late yesterday after traveling 93 million miles through space was cheered after two previous NASA satellites to Mars failed. "We're just really excited about getting access to some of the data sets," Mouginis-Mark said. The two instruments aboard, a thermal infrared camera and a gamma ray spectrometer, will be tested in the next month but real data isn't expected until about New Year's, he said.
NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft circled the Red Planet on Wednesday on its first full day in orbit, two years after the space agency suffered back-to-back failures by Mars missions.
The Mars Odyssey spacecraft succeeded Tuesday night in one of the most tricky and critical parts of its mission by slipping into orbit around the Red Planet. Odyssey emerged from behind Mars for the first time at about 10:56 p.m. ET after 20 minutes of planned but tense silence enforced by Mars itself, which blocked radio signals from reaching Earth.
NASA's Odyssey spacecraft slipped into orbit around Mars on Tuesday, 200 days after it left Earth at a speed of more than 13,000 mph to search for signs of water on the red planet.
A spacecraft has successfully entered orbit around Mars, to the jubilation of scientists and the relief of the American space agency Nasa. The last time Nasa tried to put a probe into orbit around the Red Planet it was a dismal failure but researchers are saying that the success, and promise, of Mars Odyssey will make up for past losses.
Flight controllers for NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey mission report the spacecraft is in excellent health and is in a looping orbit around Mars of 18 hours and 36 minutes. The navigation proved to be precise. "We were aiming for a point 300 kilometers (186.5 miles) above Mars and we hit that point within one kilometer (.6 miles)," reports Bob Mase, the Mars Odyssey lead navigator at JPL. "Because of the excellent main engine burn, we will not need to do any more maneuvers to adjust the orbit before we begin aerobraking on Friday."
NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft successfully entered orbit late Tuesday around the Red Planet, where the space agency suffered embarrassing back-to-back failures on its previous two missions. Engineers and scientists received the first indication shortly before 8 p.m. local time that an engine firing slowed the spacecraft and allowed Mars to capture it into orbit.
The United States returned to Mars last night as NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey fired its main engine at 7:26 p.m. Pacific time on Oct. 23rd (0226 UT on Oct. 24th) and was captured into orbit around the red planet. At 7:55 p.m. Pacific time, flight controllers at the Deep Space Network station in Goldstone, Calif., and Canberra, Australia, picked up the first radio signal from the spacecraft as it emerged from behind the planet Mars.
After the failures of its two predecessors, an American spacecraft is fast approaching Mars for a try at restoring success to the program of exploring the planet's geological and, just possibly, biological history.
A space craft is nearing Mars where it will attempt to orbit the Red Planet. BBC News Online science editor Dr David Whitehouse explains the purpose of the mission. Why is it called 2001 Mars Odyssey? It was inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey, the movie written by Arthur C Clarke and Stanley Kubrick, a movie that had nothing to do with Mars!
If all goes well, the 2001 Mars Odyssey spaceprobe will soon end its six-month journey spanning 460 million kilometres (286 million miles) and enter orbit around Mars to begin looking for frozen reservoirs of water on the Red Planet.
NASA engineers will fire the Mars Odyssey rockets for 19 minutes tomorrow, hoping it will go into orbit around the red planet after 200 days of travel and about 285 million miles logged.
Mars Odyssey’s moment of truth has arrived. For NASA and industry teams, fingers are crossed for good luck as they prepare for the October 23 rendezvous with the red planet of the $297 million spacecraft.
The latest mission to Mars arrives at the Red Planet this week, marking a crucial next step for a planned British-led search for life on its surface. The US has high hopes its Mars Odyssey spacecraft, which reaches Mars’s orbit early on Wednesday, will provide the most detailed view of the planet yet. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is still smarting from the failure of its last two Martian forays and is desperate for Odyssey to be a success.
After 200 days of travel and more than 460 million kilometers (about 285 million miles) logged on its odometer, NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft will fire its main engine for the first and only time October 23 and put itself into orbit around the red planet. To enter orbit, Odyssey's propellant tanks, the size of big beachballs, must first be pressurized, plumbing lines heated, and the system primed before 262.8 kilograms (579.4 pounds) of propellant is burned in exactly the right direction for 19.7 minutes.
The 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft is on target to orbit the Red Planet next week and erase the stigma of back-to-back mission failures, NASA officials said Thursday. "I expect nothing less than a bull's-eye the night of Oct. 23" when the spacecraft fires its main thruster and slips into orbit, said David A. Spencer, Odyssey's mission manager, at a press conference at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
With just five days to go before NASA's most crucial mission in years reaches its most crucial moment, managers laid out the timetable for the Mars Odyssey Spacecraft's insertion into orbit, slated for Oct. 23. At a press conference at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory Thursday, officials also said the craft had successfully performed its last course correction and is on track and ready for its Tuesday evening meeting with the Red Planet.
Odyssey was launched April 7 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Other than our Moon, Mars has attracted more spacecraft exploration attempts than any other object in the solar system, and no other planet has proved as daunting to success. Of the 30 missions sent to Mars by three countries over 40 years, less than one-third have been successful. "The spacecraft, ground system and flight team are ready for Mars orbit insertion," said Matthew Landano, Odyssey project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. "We uplinked the sequence of commands that control the orbit insertion on October 15. Now we will closely monitor the spacecraft's progress as it approaches Mars and executes the orbit insertion burn."
Odyssey was launched April 7, 2001, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Since then it has traveled 460 million kilometers -- an interplanetary journey that has gone "flawlessly." Other than our Moon, Mars has attracted more spacecraft than any other object in the solar system -- and no other planet has proved as daunting to success. Of the 30 missions sent to Mars by three countries over 40 years, less than one-third have been successful. Scientists, mission controllers, and Mars enthusiasts everywhere hope Odyssey will become one of the exceptional spacecraft that make it.
University of Arizona space scientists are inviting the public to join them on campus at a special open house at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL) 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. next Tuesday, Oct. 23, as the 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft arrives at Mars. The State of Arizona has a lot riding on the mission -- namely two of the three primary science instruments, said LPL director Michael Drake.
Odyssey's aerobraking around Mars could be a trick or treat event. If all goes as planned, the spacecraft will begin dipping into the Martian atmosphere about a week after the probe is inserted into Mars orbit -- that is, around Halloween. Data gleaned by the already-orbiting Mars Global Surveyor is set to help Odyssey snuggle up into a correct science orbit. "We may want to 'pop up' if a storm appears and spreads quickly. We always want an orbit that will not decay and plunge us into Mars before we can do a maneuver," said Steve Saunders, JPL Mars Odyssey Project Scientist.
The Mars Odyssey Orbiter is less than two weeks away from its destination, zooming toward the Red Planet with two wounded instruments and the hope of an entire space agency driving it onward. It is a must-win situation for NASA and its Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), coming on the heels of two failed missions to Mars. Last Thursday, engineers were put through a full dress rehearsal for what will be the most nerve-wracking part of the mission -- the unavoidable silence and waiting for confirmation that all has gone well in the first step of a tricky insertion into orbit around Mars on October 23.
NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft performed its third trajectory correction maneuver last night to fine-tune its flight path for arrival at Mars next month. Odyssey will arrive at Mars at 0230 Universal time Oct. 24 (7:30 p.m. Pacific time Oct. 23).
The 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft was launched toward Mars on April 7, 2001, from Cape Canaveral; it will arrive at the red planet in just 48 days. 2001 Mars Odyssey is an orbiter carrying three scientific instruments designed to make global observations of Mars to improve our understanding of the planet's climate and geologic history, including the search for liquid water and evidence of past life. The mission will extend across a full Martian year, or 29 Earth months. The image shows the process of aerobraking, or using the friction of the atmosphere to lower its orbit; this enables the spacecraft to carry less fuel. In the first of a four-part video series, Odyssey navigation team members explain the daily challenges of steering a spacecraft 93 million miles from Earth to Mars. Follow the link to go to the video...
NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft, now 18.5 million kilometers (11.5 million miles) from Mars on its way to a rendezvous with the red planet on October 23, remains in overall good health. Flight controllers have turned off the Martian radiation environment experiment after the instrument did not respond during a downlink session last week. Following unsuccessful attempts to reset the radiation instrument, the mission manager and project officials have decided to form a team to further study the anomaly over the next several weeks and propose a course of action to recover the instrument following Mars orbit insertion on October 23.
Whether it's exploring space, conquering an athlete's inner limits or discovering a new continent, Greek Oscar-winning composer Vangelis has made the music to match. The top-selling artist, who has an asteroid between Jupiter and Mars named after him, has merged his love of music, space and mythology in an ode to the 2001 NASA mission to Mars. Vangelis, who won an Academy Award for his theme to "Chariots of Fire," performed his new choral symphony Mythodea amid the ruins of the temple of Zeus in central Athens last week to an audience of thousands.
NASA’s 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft fine-tuned its flight path for arrival at Mars in October as it performed its second trajectory correction maneuver this morning. Odyssey fired its thrusters for 23 seconds at 9:30 a.m. Pacific time, which changed the spacecraft’s velocity by 0.9 meters per second (about 2 miles per hour).
The Oscar-winning composer Vangelis' most recent composition 'Mythodea' is dedicated to the Nasa space mission to Mars and was premiered at the Temple of Zeus in Athens earlier this week. The musician has had a life-long passion for space and wrote his new material to mark Nasa's 2001 Mars Odyssey that was launched in April to find water on the planet. Operatic stars Jessye Norman and Kathleen Battle performed 'Mythodea' alongside the London Metropolitan Orchestra and a 120-member chorus from Greece's National Opera, reports the BBC. Vangelis commented before the show: "Science and mythology were the topics which fascinated me since my early childhood."
Greek Oscar-winning composer Vangelis says his latest composition, commemorating a NASA mission to Mars, stems from a long love affair with space. "Science and mythology were the topics which fascinated me since my early childhood," the composer said in a pre-concert statement Wednesday. Vangelis, who won an Academy Award for the soundtrack to 1982 film "Chariots of Fire," will unveil his new composition "Mythodea" at Athens' Temple of Zeus archeological site on Thursday. The choral symphony, which will feature opera divas Jessye Norman and Kathleen Battle, was composed to mark NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey which was launched in April.
NASA engineers have raised the temperature on a Mars-bound spacecraft to help it weather a bout of space radiation. The induced fever should take care of radiation damage affecting an instrument on the Mars 2001 Odyssey, the space agency said. Mission controllers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory sent a radio command last week ordering Odyssey to heat up its gamma ray spectrometer detector. The action was designed to erase radiation damage that has occurred naturally during the interplanetary cruise.
NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft is in excellent health as engineers continue to check out and evaluate the performance of its systems and science instruments during its early cruise phase.
Unlike its recent predecessor, NASA's latest Mars-bound spacecraft appears to be on track for the Red Planet. The Mars Odyssey, which launched earlier this year and is set to arrive on October 23, currently is about a third of a way to its destination. "The Odyssey is working very, very well," said spacecraft manager Roger Gibbs. "Hopefully that will continue, and we’re preparing for the next phase of the mission."
Mars scientists from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, will give the latest report about the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission, now en route to the mysterious red planet, in a webcast available for viewing starting June 7 at 11 a.m. Pacific Time. JPL scientist Dr. Claudia Alexander will host the webcast, which will feature answers to questions submitted in advance, along with interesting images and cool animations of Mars.
The UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory's Gamma Ray Spectrometer Team has created an exhibit that describes the Gamma Ray Spectrometer (GRS) Instrument, part of the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission now on its way to Mars. The Mars Odyssey was launched on April 7, 2001 and is expected to arrive at Mars on Oct. 24 of this year. The Park Place exhibit allows participants to use and understand spectrometers, a key technology used in the GRS instrument. At the exhibit, spectrometer is used to view different kinds of lights. The spectrometer breaks the light into its individual colors and allows the chemicals in each bulb to be identified because of their unique, beautiful color patterns.
NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft performed its first trajectory correction maneuver early on May 23 as it fired its thrusters to fine-tune its flight path for arrival at Mars in October.
NASA's Mars-bound Odyssey space probe tweaked its flight path on Wednesday with the first in a series of planned trajectory correction maneuvers. Odyssey fired its thrusters for 82 seconds at 1:30 p.m. EDT, changing the craft's velocity by 3.6 meters per second (8.1 miles per hour).
NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft experienced a computer reset that may have been caused by a solar flare, Jet Propulsion Laboratory said Friday. The reset Tuesday morning apparently caused the spacecraft to put itself in "safe mode" for about 24 hours. Normal operations resumed Wednesday.
Somewhere between you and Mars, the Odyssey orbiter surfs the sky. Named for Arthur C. Clarke's science-fiction novel and movie, "2001: A Space Odyssey," the $300 million probe left Cape Canaveral, Florida, on April 7, with the hopes and, some say, the fate of NASA riding on it. Less than a week after it launched aboard a Delta II rocket, the Mars Odyssey was already around a million miles from Earth -- with 285 million miles to go before it reaches Mars.
NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft turned its multipurpose camera homeward last week and took its first picture -- a shot of a faint crescent Earth -- as the spacecraft heads off toward its destination, the planet Mars. The image was taken as part of the calibration process for the thermal emission imaging system, the camera system that is one of three science instrument packages on the spacecraft. The imaging system will study the Martian surface in both visible and infrared light and will help determine what minerals are present. It also will map landscapes on Mars at resolutions comparable to that of NASA's Landsat Earth observing satellite.
This morning flight controllers turned the Mars Odyssey spacecraft and pointed the thermal emission imaging system (THEMIS) instrument at the Earth and Moon to calibrate the instrument. All calibration objectives were met. Engineers are in the process of redesigning the spacecraft's cruise attitude after they noted temperature readings that were higher than expected on a high-gain antenna gimbal earlier this week. The cruise attitude points the high-gain antenna toward Earth as the spacecraft travels toward Mars.
A spacecraft heading to Mars will skip its first planned flight path adjustment because of the accuracy of its launch trajectory, NASA said. The 2001 Mars Odyssey, which blasted off from Earth on April 7, was the first NASA probe launched to Mars since two were lost in 1999.
The latest mission to Mars by the American space agency, Nasa, has taken off from Cape Canaveral in Florida. Everything went smoothly as the Delta rocket lifted off on schedule carrying Mars Odyssey.
The 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft zipped past the moon at 7,300 mph Sunday in a trouble-free day that followed a nearly flawless launch. The Denver-built NASA spacecraft will be 350,000 miles from Earth by 9 a.m. today, coasting toward an October arrival at the red planet. "We have transitioned out of launch mode and into cruise mode, and everything looks excellent," said James Neuman, head of the Lockheed Martin Astronautics team that is controlling the spacecraft from the company's Waterton Canyon facility, southwest of Denver.
NASA's Mars Odyssey began its 286-million mile journey with a perfect launch Saturday morning, relieving many in the space agency who have longed for redemption since two Mars-bound robots were lost in 1999. The failures grounded the agency's ambitious Mars plan while review boards scoured records and data for reasons. A rover slated to fly to Mars alongside Odyssey was axed, leaving Odyssey to make the trip solo.
Current launch status with links to information on viewing the launch, launch window details, launch events summaries, and even a launch simulation. Links are also provided to news sites that may have live Internet launch coverage.
Space.com live coverage of the launch of 2001 Mars Odyssey. Up to the minute weather updates and a map showing best launch viewing sites in Florida are included. Launch countdown clock is ticking...
The Mars Odyssey spacecraft rocketed away Saturday on a 286 million-mile journey to the Red Planet and what NASA hopes will be a mission of redemption. It is the space agency's first launch to Mars since a pair of humiliating failures in 1999.
The Denver-built 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft rocketed away Saturday on a 286 million-mile journey to the Red Planet and what NASA and Lockheed Martin hope will be a mission of redemption. It is the space program's first launch to Mars since a pair of humiliating failures in 1999.
The search for answers to basic questions about humanity's place in the universe continued Saturday with the launch of NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft on an epic, 286-million-mile journey to the Red Planet. The interplanetary voyage started from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 11:02 a.m. EDT (15:02 GMT) and is expected to take six months before the $297 million mission settles into orbit around Mars on October 24.
The Mars Odyssey, due to blast off for the Red Planet on Saturday from Cape Canaveral, will carry with it a hefty list of objectives, from snapping detailed images of Mars, to detecting the planet's mineral content, to measuring radiation levels in its orbit. From these measurements — which promise to be more detailed than data gleaned in previous missions — NASA hopes to understand how prevalent water may be on Mars and whether the planet might host life. But, above all, the Mars Odyssey mission must do this: Not fail.
Beginning a new chapter in Mars exploration, NASA expects to launch Saturday a powerful new orbiter to scour the red planet for evidence of underground water and geologic hot spots. The $300 million Mars Odyssey will become the first spacecraft launched to the red planet since two disastrous failures in 1999. Mars Odyssey will search for water, map surface minerals and measure radiation levels -- observations that could provide clues about possible extraterrestrial life.
NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey is ready for a Saturday liftoff, as long as the Sun cooperates. Solar activity is churning out higher than normal doses of protons -- high-energy particles that can wreak havoc with microelectronics on satellites, as well as rocket boosters. These energetic protons can zap equipment causing "single-event upsets" -- glitches in computers that can then send out faulty signals to hardware.
Humbled by Mars, NASA is about to send another spacecraft to study it. The launch of the 2001 Mars Odyssey orbiter, set for Saturday, is the first since the agency was staggered by 1999's back-to-back failures of missions to the planet. And it is the first Mars craft to be dispatched since the National Aeronautics and Space Administration drastically revamped the program based on multiple investigations of what went wrong.
After back-to-back mission failures that devastated its Mars exploration program, NASA hopes to recover with a new probe designed to scan the Red Planet for signs of underground ice and elusive geyserlike springs. Strong evidence of water in either form would furnish a guidepost for robotic and possibly human missions to search the rugged terrain for evidence that Mars hosts or once hosted some form of life.
With memories of recent back-to-back failures still painfully fresh, NASA is leaving no stone unturned to make sure the $305 million Mars Odyssey probe makes it safely into orbit around the Red Planet later this year. The solar-powered 758-kilogram spacecraft is scheduled for launch April 7 from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station atop a Boeing Delta 2 rocket. If all goes well, the Odyssey orbiter will slip into a highly elliptical orbit around Mars on October 24.
On 7 April, a probe will set out for Mars that could be pivotal in the search for water--and life--on the red planet. The 2001 Mars Odyssey orbiter will also be attempting to erase memories of the failure of the last two NASA missions to that destination. The Odyssey's mission is to map the planet's geology, paying particular attention to the role of water, both past and present.
The launch of NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey is scheduled for Saturday, April 7, at 11:02 a.m. EDT. Liftoff will occur aboard a Boeing Delta II launch vehicle from Pad A at Space Launch Complex 17, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. A second launch opportunity exists thirty minutes later at 11:32 a.m., if necessary. Should launch be delayed by 24 hours, the two launch times available on Sunday are 10:29 a.m. and 11:29 a.m. EDT. The planetary launch window extends through April 27.
On April 7, a day becomes an odyssey -- a Mars odyssey -- at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Guests can purchase a Launch Transportation Ticket to view the launch of the 2001 Mars Odyssey Orbiter aboard a Delta II rocket and witness the beginning of a voyage to another planet. Launch Transportation Tickets provide visitors with the opportunity of a lifetime-to view the launch from otherwise-restricted NASA property. Visitors can order tickets by calling 321-449-4444 or by logging on to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex's Web site at http://www.KennedySpaceCenter.com.
NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft, set for launch on April 7, aims to find out what Earth's planetary neighbor is made of and evaluate radiation that could be risky to humans, space agency officials said on Monday. Admittedly snake-bit by earlier failed missions, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has spent about $12 million on additional reviews to cut down on the possibility of failure. The total cost of the unmanned orbital mission is $297 million.
When NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey launches in April to explore the fourth planet from the Sun, it will carry a suite of scientific instruments designed to tell us what makes up the Martian surface, and provide vital information about potential radiation hazards for future human explorers.
Still smarting from back-to-back Mars failures in late 1999, NASA hopes to reconnect with the Red Planet via the 2001 Mars Odyssey orbiter. NASA’s next Mars mission is now set for launch on April 7. Given an on-time takeoff, the craft will begin looping Mars on October 20, 2001. Once on duty, the spacecraft is assigned a two-year mission to map the planet’s surface and measure its environment. Total cost of the mission: $300 million.
George Pace hops on an airport shuttle and the driver asks what he does. Working on a Mars mission, he says, the next Mars mission. "Ohhhh, that's GOT to work," the driver tells him, remembering NASA's embarrassing back-to-back Mars flops in 1999. "Yeah, I think I've heard that before," Pace replies. Weeks later, Pace laughs as he recalls the conversation. He's admiring the spacecraft that he's been charged with overseeing, the 2001 Mars Odyssey, scheduled for launch April 7.
The first major step toward NASA's return of a spacecraft to an orbit around Mars was achieved late Thursday night, Jan. 4, when the Mars Odyssey spacecraft arrived at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The spacecraft was shipped aboard an Air Force C-17 cargo airplane from Denver, Colo., location of the Lockheed Martin plant where the spacecraft was built. The project is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.
With a Red Team acting as an over-the-shoulder review panel, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. say they are on target for an Apr. 7 launch of the space agency's next mission to the red planet. The mission is the 2001 Mars Odyssey, which is to spend two years mapping the planet's surface and measuring its environment with an eye on understanding the basics of what it will take for man to visit, and perhaps live, on the planet. The 2001 Odyssey will operate from a 400-km.- (250-mi.) high-Sun-synchronous orbit. Launch from Cape Canaveral will be on a Delta II.
The mothballed Mars Surveyor 2001 Lander has found itself a torchbearer in Harrison Quigley. Along with a small group of friends, the Connecticut aerospace engineer has launched www.savethemarslander.org, a grass-roots attempt to get NASA to salvage the earthbound Martian probe. "All were saying is you built and tested it, now fly it," Quigley said.
There is a possibility that NASA's Johnson Space Center may try to "buy" the Mars 2001 Lander that has been canceled by NASA despite expenditures of over $100 million to date.
The Libya Montes are a ring of mountains up-lifted by the giant impact that created the Isidis basin to the north. During 1999, this region became one of the top two that were being considered for the now-canceled Mars Surveyor 2001 lander. The Isidis basin is very, very ancient. Thus, the mountains that form its rims would contain some of the oldest rocks available at the martian surface, and a landing in this region might potentially provide information about conditions on early Mars.
For the first time school kids from India along with their counterparts in different parts of the world will get a chance to participate in NASA's mission to Mars in 2001 if they get through a tough selection process. The project involves students taking part in the planetary mission at a simulated Mars base on earth located in the U.S.
NASA will launch a $135 million satellite to Mars on April 7, 2001, marking the U.S. space agency’s return to the Red Planet after the recent failure of two other martian probes. The spacecraft should arrive at Mars, and go into orbit on October 20, 2001. It will then take 76 days to gradually edge closer to the planet’s surface. By the first week of January 2002 the satellite will be whipping around Mars once every two hours.
On the heels of a NASA report that the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), by limiting its engagement, was unable to provide oversight that might have prevented the demise of the Mars Climate Orbiter, a top JPL official pledged that things will be different next time.
If a lander spacecraft is sent to Mars in 2001, it will not carry a mini-rover like the Sojourner that so thrilled the public on the Mars Pathfinder mission in July 1997.
The smart people who run NASA's Mars exploration program are still, well, smarting after they went 0 for the '98 season. But there isn't much time for self-pity in their business. In little more than a year, the third and fourth rocks from the sun will once again be in the proper alignment for an Earth to Mars chip-shot. So, instead of hand wringing, the Jet Propulsion Lab brain-trust is busy coming up with a Plan B (as in Better). Forget about Cheaper and Faster for now.
In the aftermath of the Mars Polar Lander and Climate Orbiter losses, NASA is intensely reviewing its Mars Surveyor program. The current plan calls for an orbiter and lander in 2001, with a Sojourner-like rover and robotic arm for soil sampling.
Leaders of NASA's Mars Surveyor 2001 mission may be making a number of design changes to minimize the chances that whatever failure doomed the Mars Polar Lander doesn't recur with the 2001 lander. The 2001 lander is the primary target of a top-to-bottom examination because it is essentially a copy of the Polar Lander.
As explosive charges detonate around the Mars Polar Lander to help it break out of the cocoon of its cruise configuration, a downward-gazing camera will be snapping pictures of the martian polar landscape. It will take a series of still images starting about 4 miles (a little more than 6 kilometers) above the southern polar terrain.
A former mining town in the north-east of England is taking the brave step of pitching for visitors from Mars. The town's chamber of trade organised the move by replying to a Nasa advert for material to be included on the Mars 2001 Lander expedition.
At the June Mars 2001 landing zone workshop, it became clear that many scientifically interesting sites -- including those at Valles Marineris and White Rock -- were simply too rugged for their science benefit to be worth the landing risk, despite the 2001 Lander's greater accuracy at navigating.
As a result of a meeting of 132 planetary scientists held last week in Houston, the possible choices of a landing area for the Mars Surveyor 2001 Lander have officially been reduced to two -- with one of them the overwhelming favorite.
The loss of the Mars Climate Orbiter has thrown a monkey wrench into plans for another Mars mission set for launch in 2001. The 2001 lander will have its own orbiter to serve as a communications link to Earth, but if it -- like the Climate Orbiter -- should fail, the lander would be left with no way to radio its science findings to Earth. That’s because the backup plan was to use Climate Orbiter.
Things aren't always as they seem on Mars. Some of the latest images from NASA's Global Surveyor mapping mission around the red planet are making that abundantly clear, a group of scientists and engineers interested in NASA's Mars mission set for a 2001 launch learned recently.
Astronaut John Glenn and Bill Nye, the Science Guy, announced today an unprecedented opportunity for children around the world to join the first student team ever to serve on a planetary mission. This Planetary Society project will allow children hands-on participation in the operation of a Mars rover and robotic arm on the Mars Surveyor mission that launches in 2001.
A new U.S. mission to Mars will let school children help operate a robotic rover as it rolls over the red Martian surface, former astronaut John Glenn announced Thursday. The Mars Surveyor 2001 mission, set to launch in 2001, will allow student "astronauts," living in a simulated Mars base on Earth, to assist in manipulating the rover on Mars, according to Glenn, a former senator.
A new U.S. mission to Mars will let school children help operate a robotic rover as it rolls over the red Martian surface, former astronaut John Glenn announced on Thursday.
You could call it Martian Standard Time. The new "time zone" takes effect in January 2002 when a sundial designed and assembled at the University of Washington lands on the red planet aboard NASA's 2001 Mars Surveyor.
For the first time in history, humanity will send a sundial to another planet. Inscribed with the motto "Two Worlds, One Sun," the sundial will travel to Mars aboard Nasa's Mars Surveyor 2001 lander.
An experiment to ride on Mars Surveyor 2001 will be the first attempt to produce oxygen using local resources - in this case carbon dioxide mined from the Martian atmosphere. Called in-situ production, the experiment will help pave the way for more substantial resource extraction that is critical to any human missions to Mars.
As a result of the $20 million added to the Mars 2001 mission by the Senate Appropriations Committee following mobilizations by the Mars Society and the Planetary Society, NASA is now considering restoring a rover to the mission.
As a result of tandem mobilizations by the Mars Society and the Planetary Society, the Senate VA-HUD-IA Appropriations Committee voted June 11 to restore $20 million in badly needed funds to support the NASA's 2001 robotic Mars lander mission.
As a result of the Clinton Administration's pulling of $60 million in committed funds to support the Mars 2001 mission, NASA has canceled plans to fly the "Athena" robotic rover to Mars in that year.
Two robotic spacecraft scheduled for launch in mid-2001 to orbit and land on Mars will carry a descent camera, a multispectral imager, and a robotic rover capable of traversing tens of miles across the red planet's rocky highlands.