This gamma ray spectrometer map of the mid-latitude region of Mars is based on gamma-rays from the element silicon. Silicon is one of the most abundant elements on the surface of both Mars and Earth (second only to oxygen). The most extensive region of highest silicon content, shown in red, is located in the high latitudes north of Tharsis (centered near 45 degrees latitude, -120 degrees longitude). The area of lowest silicon content, shown in blue, lies just to the east of the Hellas Basin (-45 degrees latitude, 90 degrees longitude). Contours of constant surface elevation are also shown. The long continuous contour line running from east to west marks the approximate separation of the younger lowlands in the north from the older highlands in the south.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The gamma ray spectrometer was provided by the University of Arizona, Tucson. Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, Colo., is the prime contractor for the 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.