Mars Odyssey Observes First Anniversary in Space
Dr. Igor Mitrofanov

Camera system principal investigator Dr. Phil Christensen, Arizona State University, Tempe, said, "We now have night vision on Mars and have acquired images taken in complete darkness on the planet. The daytime images help scientists map minerals and study safe places for future Mars landings.

A new Mars image is posted daily by Christensen's team. To see the images, go to http://themis.asu.edu/latest.html .

Dr. Bill Boynton, University of Arizona, Tucson, the gamma ray spectrometer scientist and team leader, said, "We can see a strong hydrogen signature in Mars' southern hemisphere, even without boom deployment [scheduled for May]. There's a lot of water there."

Neutron spectrometer scientist Dr. Bill Feldman, Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico, agreed and said, "We're finding a lot of water ice in the soil of Mars."

Rounding out the gamma ray spectrometer team is Dr. Igor Mitrofanov, principal investigator for the Russian high energy neutron detector.

He said, "A vast area of permafrost has been discovered in the southern hemisphere and we start to see the northern permafrost as well in high energy neutrons."

More information, including links, about the gamma ray spectrometer suite of instruments is available at http://grs.lpl.arizona.edu/ .

The martian radiation instrument did not communicate for about six months, but after extensive troubleshooting is now "talking" with scientists again. The experiment measures radiation that could endanger humans and provides a check on overall radiation that might affect other Odyssey instruments.

"This experiment is important for any future human exploration of Mars," said principal investigator Dr. Frank Cucinotta, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas.


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