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2001 Mars Odyssey
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2001 Mars Odyssey
2001 Mars Odyssey Mission to Mars

Goals: Mars Odyssey is an orbiter carrying science experiments designed to make global observations of Mars to improve our understanding of the planet's climate and geologic history, including the search for water and evidence of life-sustaining environments.

Accomplishments: Mars Odyssey provided stunning images and crucial science far beyond its planned 917-day mission. The orbiter made valuable global observations of Martian climate, geology and mineralogy. It mapped the elemental distribution of hydrogen, silicon, iron, potassium, thorium and chlorine on the Martian surface. Odyssey also determined that radiation in low-Mars orbit -- an essential piece of information for eventual human exploration because of its potential health effects -- is twice that in low-Earth orbit.

The orbiter's maps helped guide the selection of landing sites for the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity and the Phoenix polar lander.

Key Dates
7 Apr 2001:  Launch (15:02 UT)
24 Oct 2001:  Mars Orbit Insertion (02:30 UT)
Status: Extended Mission in Progress
Fast Facts
2001 Mars Odyssey Facts Mars Odyssey traveled 460 million km to get to Mars.

The one-way light time from Mars to Earth on its arrival day was 8 minutes, 30 seconds.

The aerobraking process -- using the Martian atmosphere to slow down -- took three months to put Odyssey in its mapping orbit.

Odyssey's detailed maps (above) helped in the selection landing sites for future Mars missions.
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Last Updated: 3 Oct 2010