The Longest Martian Odyssey Ever

Noctis Vista: West of Valles Marineris lies a checkerboard named Noctis Labyrinthus, which formed when the Martian crust stretched and fractured. As faults opened, they released subsurface ice and water, causing the ground to collapse. This westward view combines images taken during the period from April 2003 to September 2005 by the Thermal Emission Imaging System instrument on NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter. It is part of a special set of images marking the occasion of Odyssey becoming the longest-working Mars spacecraft in history. The pictured location on Mars is 13.3 degrees south latitude, 263.4 degrees east longitude. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU

At 3,340 days and counting, NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter established a new record for longevity as of Dec. 15 and thereby worked longer at the red planet than any other spacecraft in human history.

The previous Martian record holder was the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) orbiter which operated in orbit from Sept. 11, 1997 to Nov. 2, 2006 until contact was lost following a computer glitch.

Odyssey has made numerous high impact scientific discoveries along the way. The probe also relayed most of the science data from Spirit, Opportunity and Phoenix and will continue that task for NASA’s upcoming Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover named Curiosity.(…) Read the rest of The Longest Martian Odyssey Ever (1,583 words)

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(C) Ken Kremer for Universe Today, 2010. | Permalink | 3 comments | Add to Post

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