Need to get away to someplace exotic? Mars is now open for daily

Beginning March 27, 2002, recent images of Mars taken by the Thermal
Emission Imaging System on NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft will be available
to the public on the Internet. A new, “uncalibrated” image taken by the
visible light camera will be posted at 10 A.M. EST daily, Monday through
Friday. The pictures can be viewed and downloaded at .

The images will show 22 kilometer-wide strips of the martian surface at a
resolution of 18 meters. Though the images will not yet be fully calibrated
for scientific use, they give the public an unprecedented opportunity to
get a close look at many of Mars’ unusual geological features. The visible
light camera’s resolution is about eight to 16 times better than most of the
images taken by NASA’s Viking missions, which completed the first global map
of the martian surface. “We want to generate a steady flow of images so we
can share some of the excitement of what we’re seeing with the public,” said
Greg Mehall, THEMIS mission manager at Arizona State University. “We’re
seeing a lot of very interesting things, since much of Mars has never been
viewed so closely before.”

Though the posted images have undergone only minimal image processing, the
team wanted to share them with the public as soon as possible. “They’re
still pretty spectacular to look at,” Mehall said. “And we want people to
feel they are getting a first look at the images with us.”

THEMIS began mapping Mars from an orbit of 420 kilometers in mid-February,
taking images in both infrared and visible light The instrument is expected
to take as many as 15,000 visible light images through the course of the

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of
Technology in Pasadena, manages the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission for NASA’s
Office of Space Science in Washington. Investigators at Arizona State
University in Tempe, the University of Arizona in Tucson and NASA’s Johnson
Space Center, Houston, operate the science instruments. Additional science
partners are located at the Russian Aviation and Space Agency and at Los
Alamos National Laboratories, New Mexico.

Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, is the prime contractor for the
project, and developed and built the orbiter. Mission operations are
conducted jointly from Lockheed Martin and from JPL. Additional information
about the 2001 Mars Odyssey is available on the Internet at: