Project: Research project

Project Details


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The science to be achieved in the fifth Odyssey extended mission directly addresses the goals of the Mars Exploration Program and the Planetary Decadal Survey by providing new insight into the potential habitability of Mars. Odyssey, furthermore, plays a critical role in the Mars infrastructure supporting landed missions. The focused investigations of the Odyssey instrument payload, the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS), High Energy Neutron Detector (HEND) and Neutron Spectrometer (NS) build on those carried out during previous phases of the mission. THEMIS, with its unique thermal IR capabilities, will advance the understanding of the surface mineralogy, geology and morphology, atmospheric processes, and polar pro- cesses. Working in concert with the spectral imagers on other Mars spacecraft that operate at complementary wavelengths enables results unachievable with any single instrument. In a similar sense, the long-term monitoring campaign by the HEND and NS provide a significant contribution to the study of Mars climate, complementing both THEMIS observations and those of the Mars Climate Sounder (MCS) on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). From a comparative planetology standpoint, the study of the climate of Mars allows better understanding of the dynamics of the changing climate of the Earth. The arrival of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) at Mars in August of 2012 provides the opportunity to use the unique capabilities of Odyssey HEND and NS in concert with the MSL Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) and Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) to study radiation hazards for potential human explorers of Mars a goal emphasized as part of the current restructuring of the Mars Program. HEND and NS will also continue to monitor the space weather at Mars, which is essential to currently operating spacecraft when analyzing anomalies or assessing the impact of solar particle events. The HEND instrument, by virtue of its design and location in the solar system, offers the opportunity to aid in determining the location of gamma ray bursts (GRBs). This is done at no additional cost to instrument operations and offers unique interdiscipli- nary science between the planetary and astrophysics communities.


The Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEM IS) project on NASA's Mars Odyssey mission is lead by Prof. Philip Christensen at Arizona State University, in partnership with Raytheon Santa Barbara Remote Sensing and a science team of five Co-Investigators and eleven Participating SCientists. The project began in 1997, with the spacecraft launched in 2001. THEMIS is still operating as planned in orbit around Mars. To date the THEMIS project has brought $44,595,137 to ASU, of which $4,455,264 has been indirect funds. For FY12 THEMIS is bringing in $3,300,000 with $506,124 in indirect funds. THEM IS can map the entire planet in both day and night multi-spectral infrared images at 10Q-m per pixel resolution, 60% of the planet in one-band visible images at 18-m per pixel, and several percent of the planet in 5-band visible color. THEM IS is one of two major instruments on the Mars Odyssey spacecraft. It is intended to investigate the surface mineralogy and physical properties of Mars using multi-spectral thermal-infrared images in nine wavelengths centered from 6.8 to 14.9 pm, and visible/near-infrared images in five bands centered from 0.42 to 0.86 pm. Most geologic materials, including carbonates, silicates, sulfates, phosphates, and hydroxides have strong fundamental vibrational absorption bands in the thermal-infrared spectral region that provide diagnostic information on mineral composition. THEMIS follows Christensen 's Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) and Mars Exploration Rover Mini-TES experiments, providing substantially higher spatial resolution IR multi-spectral images to complement TES hyperspectral (143-band) global mapping, and providing regional-scale visible imaging. The THEMIS science team has made major discoveries about Mars, and has created significant recognition for ASU in both the science community and the national and international public.
Effective start/end date5/26/019/25/22


  • National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA): $53,175,000.00


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