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."

The information includes the first six weeks of mapping data through the end of March, as well as the observations made during the cruise phase to Mars. The archive consists of formatted instrument data from the gamma-ray spectrometer and high-energy neutron spectrometer; Mars maps from the neutron detectors; about 800 visible and infrared images taken by the camera system; and radiation measurements from the Martian radiation environment experiment. New data will be released to the science community every three months.

The Odyssey data are available through a new online access system established by the Planetary Data System at:

The Odyssey data release, coupled with the availability of this new system, marks a significant improvement in access to data from solar system exploration missions. Beginning today, validated data from all Odyssey instruments will be available for search and retrieval immediately upon delivery to the Planetary Data System.

The system will soon integrate data sets from all Mars missions so researchers can obtain all the data they need at a "one-stop shopping" Internet site. A guide to the Odyssey data sets can be found at the Planetary Data System Geosciences Node 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, 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:


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