Odyssey Mission Overview
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Mapping Water Abundance on Mars
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Odyssey Maps Minerals Too!
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Odyssey Makes Best Map of Mars Ever!
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Odyssey Maps Radiation Levels
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Odyssey Lives Long and Prospers
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Odyssey Relays Information Home
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2001 Mars Odyssey is part of NASA's Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the red planet. The opportunity to go to Mars comes around every 26 months, when the alignment of Earth and Mars in their orbits around the sun allows spacecraft to travel between the two planets with the least amount of energy.
The 2001 Mars Odyssey mission is NASA's longest-lasting spacecraft at Mars. The spacecraft launched on April 7, 2001, and arrived at Mars on October 24, 2001, 0230 Universal Time (October 23, 7:30 pm PDT/ 10:30 EDT). Its mission includes making the first global map of the amount and distribution of many chemical elements and minerals that make up the Martian surface. It successfully completed its primary science mission from February 2002 through August 2004. The orbiter's extended operations continue today.
NASA's Odyssey to Mars
The name "2001 Mars Odyssey" was selected as a tribute to the vision and spirit of space exploration as embodied in the works of renowned science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke. Evocative of one of his most celebrated works, the name speaks to our hopes for the future and of the fundamental human desire to explore the unknown despite great dangers, the risk of failure and the daunting, enormous depths of space.
2001 Mars Odyssey Results
For the first time, the mission globally mapped the amount and distribution of many chemical elements and minerals that make up the martian surface.
Maps of hydrogen distribution led scientists to discover vast amounts of water ice in the polar regions buried just beneath the surface.
Odyssey also recorded the radiation environment in low Mars orbit to determine the radiation-related risk to any future human explorers who may one day go to Mars. All of these objectives support the four science goals of the Mars Exploration Program.
2001 Mars Odyssey Instruments
The three primary instruments carried by 2001 Mars Odyssey are:
Providing Telecommunications Support to Other Mars Missions
The Odyssey orbiter is a communications relay for rovers and landers on Mars including the Mars Exploration Rovers "Spirit" and "Opportunity," the Mars Phoenix lander and the Mars Science Laboratory's Curiosity rover. Images and other measurements from Mars Odyssey help identify potential landing sites for rovers and landers.