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Mars Odyssey Observes First Anniversary in Space

Image of Mars Odyssey launch - click to view video
Image of Mars Odyssey at launch - watch the anniversary video!
What a year this has been for the Mars Odyssey team!

The excitement of launch last April 7, the arrival at Mars, the long, sometimes tedious aerobraking concluded so successfully, the beginning of the mapping phase ....

The detailed pictures the camera system is taking, letting scientists get closer and closer to Mars' mysteries ....

The evidence from the gamma ray spectrometer showing more hydrogen in Mars' southern hemisphere than was known before ....

The drama of the martian radiation environment experiment - as it turned out, the instrument was just taking a long nap ....

Anniversary Toasts From the Odyssey Team

Roger Gibbs
Roger Gibbs

"We have an A-plus spacecraft," said Roger Gibbs, Odyssey project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Everything is going smoothly and we're looking forward to another great year."

Bob Berry
Bob Berry
Bob Berry, Lockheed Martin Astronautics Odyssey program manager, said, "The performance of the spacecraft and the spacecraft team has been virtually flawless during cruise, orbit insertion and aerobraking. Now it's payoff time and we're ecstatic to finally start seeing the fruits of our labor - great science."

He added, "Early results are amazing and the team is looking forward to Odyssey adding another chapter in our Mars book of knowledge."

Still early in the mapping mission, Odyssey has already begun to return surprising new views of the red planet.

Dr. Stephen Saunders
Dr. Steve Saunders
"Odyssey's unique instrument set is working nearly perfectly," said JPL's Odyssey project scientist Dr. Steve Saunders. "We are getting new insights into the physical and chemical makeup of Mars."

Dr. Philip Christensen
Dr. Phil Christensen

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 .

Dr. William Boynton
Dr. Bill Boynton

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."

Dr. Bill Feldman
Dr. Bill Feldman (far right), Heather Enos (far left)

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."

Dr. Igor Mitrofanov
Dr. Igor Mitrofanov
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 .

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.

Dr. Frank Cucinotta
Dr. Frank Cucinotta
"This experiment is important for any future human exploration of Mars," said principal investigator Dr. Frank Cucinotta, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas. has more information on the radiation instrument.

Following is a gallery of pictures from Odyssey's first year in space:

GRS Installation (copyright also: KSC) Odyssey Launch Mars Odyssey Orbiter
Daytime Infrared, Terra Sirenum Southern Hemisphere Neutron Map Estimated Radiation Dosage on Mars

Full Text
    Mars Odyssey Observes First Anniversary in Space
    Anniversary Toasts From the Odyssey Team (continued)

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