Press Release

UA Scientists on Mars Odysey GRS Team to Talk on New Discoveries of Water on Mars

By SpaceRef Editor
December 7, 2002
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UA Scientists on Mars Odysey GRS Team to Talk on New Discoveries of Water on Mars

Images and animations

Scientists are releasing new information from NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft, highlighting water ice distribution on the planet and color
images of surface, this week at the American Geophysical Union meeting in
San Francisco.

NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft began its science mapping mission on Feb. 19,
2001. Three months later, shortly before Odyssey’s Gamma Ray Spectrometer
(GRS) instrument suite was fully deployed into its final mapping
configuration, the GRS gave scientists a big surprise. The GRS detected
abundant water ice in the upper meter (three feet) of soil in a large region
surrounding the planet’s south pole.

By mid-October, the frozen carbon dioxide that seasonally caps Mars’ north
pole had evaporated sufficiently to give Odyssey’s GRS scientists their
first chance to look for ice in that region.

Several of the GRS science team members, including William Boynton of the
University of Arizona in Tucson, who is principal investigator for Odyssey’s
GRS instrument, will present new results about water ice in the soils of
Mars’ northern hemisphere this weekend.

Boynton is part of an AGU news conference, “New Results from Mars Odyssey,”
at 2 p.m. (Pacific Time) Sunday, Dec. 8, and will give an invited talk,
“Subsurface Ice Content in the Polar Region of Mars,” at 8:45 a.m. (Pacific
Time) Monday, Dec. 9.

“We are really excited about what we are seeing the north polar region of
Mars,” Boynton said. “The seasonal carbon dioxide frost has just now
disappeared, and we can see evidence of massive amounts of water ice in the
soil, even greater than what we found in the south.”

Boynton’s team will post 3D animation of Mars’ seasonal polar changes, color
maps that show the distribution of ice on Mars, and other information at 11
a.m. Pacific time (noon Mountain time) Saturday, Dec. 7 on the GRS team web
site at

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena,
manages the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission for NASA’s Office of Space Science in
Washington, D.C. Investigators at Arizona State University in Tempe, the
University of Arizona in Tucson and NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston,
built and operate the science instruments. Additional science partners are
located at the Russian Aviation and Space Agency and at Los Alamos National
Laboratories, New Mexico. 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.
Additional information about the 2001 Mars Odyssey is available on the
Internet at:

AGU news conference
2 p.m. PT Sunday, Dec. 8
New Results from Mars Odyssey

AGU invited talk ú William Boynton
8:45 a.m. PT, Monday, Dec. 9
Subsurface Ice Content in the Polar Region of Mars

SpaceRef staff editor.