Status Report

NASA Mars Odyssey THEMIS Image: Destination: Meridiani

By SpaceRef Editor
July 8, 2003
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Medium image for 20030708a

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Context image for 20030708a
Context image credit: NASA/Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) Team
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Yesterday a modified Delta II rocket successfully lifted off from Cape
Canaveral, Florida, sending the Mars Exploration Rover named Opportunity on
its way to Mars. This THEMIS image covers part of the landing ellipse in
Meridiani Planum, where the rover is expected to land in about seven
months. The Meridiani Planum landing site was selected because of the
detection by the Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) instrument on Mars Global
Surveyor of a mineral called hematite, which usually forms in the presence of
water. While this visible wavelength image cannot “see” hematite, what it
does show is a relatively smooth (safe) area, which, in places, contains a
brighter material. Because Opportunity will be able to travel dozens of
meters per day, it will be able to sample both bright material and the darker
material that takes up the majority of this scene. Understanding what each of
these materials are and their relationship to each other will help scientists
to get a better understanding of the history of water on this part of Mars.

[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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ParameterValue ParameterValue
Latitude-1.8 &nbsp InstrumentVIS
Longitude354.7E (5.3W) &nbsp Resolution (m)19
Image Size (pixels)3291×1431 &nbsp Image Size (km)62.5×27.2

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