Status Report

NASA Mars Odyssey THEMIS Image: Clouds and Dust Storms

By SpaceRef Editor
July 5, 2004
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Medium image for 20040702a

Image Context:

Context image for 20040702a
Context image credit: NASA/Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) Team
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ParameterValue ParameterValue
Latitude68.4 &nbsp InstrumentVIS
Longitude180E (180W) &nbsp Resolution (m)38
Image Size (pixels)6397×692 &nbsp Image Size (km)243.1×26.3

This image is part of the following themes:

The atmosphere of Mars is a dynamic system. Water-ice clouds, fog,

and hazes can make imaging the surface from space difficult. Dust

storms can grow from local disturbances to global sizes, through

which imaging is impossible. Seasonal temperature changes are the

usual drivers in cloud and dust storm development and growth.

Eons of atmospheric dust storm activity has left its mark on the

surface of Mars. Dust carried aloft by the wind has settled

out on every available surface; sand dunes have been created and

moved by centuries of wind; and the effect of continual sand-blasting

has modified many regions of Mars, creating yardangs and other

unusual surface forms.

This image was captured 11 days after yesterday’s

image. The clouds that began as transparent water-ice have

now developed into a full blown dust storm. The surface

is completely hidden and the structure of the cloud tops

is all that can be seen. These local North Polar cap-edge

storms will continue throughout the rest of the spring.

[Source: ASU THEMIS Science Team]

Note: this THEMIS visual image has not been radiometrically nor geometrically calibrated for this preliminary release. An empirical correction has been performed to remove instrumental effects. A linear shift has been applied in the cross-track and down-track direction to approximate spacecraft and planetary motion. Fully calibrated and geometrically projected images will be released through the Planetary Data System in accordance with Project policies at a later time.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission for NASA’s Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) was developed by Arizona State University, Tempe, in collaboration with Raytheon Santa Barbara Remote Sensing. The THEMIS investigation is led by Dr. Philip Christensen at Arizona State University. Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, is the prime contractor for the Odyssey 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.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Arizona State University

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