Released 12 March 2004
The Odyssey spacecraft has completed a full Mars year of observations of the red planet. For the next several weeks the Image of the Day will look back over this first mars year. It will focus on four themes: 1) the poles - with the seasonal changes seen in the retreat and expansion of the caps; 2) craters - with a variety of morphologies relating to impact materials and later alteration, both infilling and exhumation; 3) channels - the clues to liquid surface flow; and 4) volcanic flow features. While some images have helped answer questions about the history of Mars, many have raised new questions that are still being investigated as Odyssey continues collecting data as it orbits Mars.
Infrared images taken during the daytime exhibit both the morphological and thermophysical properties of the surface of Mars. Morphologic details are visible due to the effect of sun-facing slopes receiving more energy than antisun-facing slopes. This creates a warm (bright) slope and cool (dark) slope appearance that mimics the light and shadows of a visible wavelength image. Thermophysical properties are seen in that dust heats up more quickly than rocks. Thus dusty areas are bright and rocky areas are dark.
This image was collected October 19, 2002 during the northern spring season. The top half of this daytime IR image shows the North Polar sand sea.
Image information: IR instrument. Latitude 76.2, Longitude 226.8 East (133.2 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.