Released 30 December 2003
Like billowing smoke from a brush fire, clouds of dust are seen streaming off the edge of the martian south polar cap. The southern hemisphere is in the middle of its summer season and experiencing a multitude of small dust storms like this one. The net effect is an increasingly dusty atmosphere across the whole planet and with it, warmer atmospheric temperatures. Although much of the atmosphere is moderately dusty, this level of dust activity should have little effect on the January 3rd landing of the Mars Exploration Rover called Spirit.
Initial image processing and calibration by THEMIS team members J. Bell, T. McConnochie, and D. Savransky at Cornell University; additional processing and final color balance by space artist Don Davis.
Image information: VIS instrument. Latitude -83, Longitude 264.2 East (95.8 West). 19 meter/pixel resolution.
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.