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2001 Mars Odyssey

NASA orbiter for geology and hydrology / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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2001 Mars Odyssey is a robotic spacecraft orbiting the planet Mars. The project was developed by NASA, and contracted out to Lockheed Martin, with an expected cost for the entire mission of US$297 million. Its mission is to use spectrometers and a thermal imager to detect evidence of past or present water and ice, as well as study the planet's geology and radiation environment.[4] It is hoped that the data Odyssey obtains will help answer the question of whether life existed on Mars and create a risk-assessment of the radiation that future astronauts on Mars might experience. It also acts as a relay for communications between the Curiosity rover, and previously the Mars Exploration Rovers and Phoenix lander, to Earth. The mission was named as a tribute to Arthur C. Clarke, evoking the name of his and Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey.[5][6]

Quick facts: Mission type, Operator, COSPAR ID, SATCAT no....
2001 Mars Odyssey
Artist's impression of the Mars Odyssey spacecraft
Mission typeMars orbiter
OperatorNASA / JPL
COSPAR ID2001-013A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.26734
Mission duration
  • Elapsed:
    • 22 years, 7 months and 18 days from launch
    • 22 years, 1 month and 1 day at Mars (7851 sols)
  • En route: 6 months, 17 days
  • Primary mission: 32 months (1007 sols)
  • Extended mission: 19 years and 3 months (6843 sols) elapsed
Spacecraft properties
ManufacturerLockheed Martin
Launch mass725 kg[1]
Dry mass376.3 kilograms (830 lb)
Power750 W
Start of mission
Launch dateApril 7, 2001, 15:02:22 (2001-04-07UTC15:02:22Z) UTC[2]
RocketDelta II 7925-9.5
Launch siteCape Canaveral SLC-17A
End of mission
Last contactQ4 2025 (planned)
Orbital parameters
Reference systemAreocentric
Semi-major axis3,793.4 km (2,357.1 mi)[3]
Altitude400 km (250 mi)[3]
Period2 hours[3]
Argument of periareion[3]
Mean anomaly[3]
EpochOctober 19, 2002[3]
Mars orbiter
Orbital insertionOctober 24, 2001,
MSD 45435 12:21 AMT

Odyssey was launched April 7, 2001, on a Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and reached Mars orbit on October 24, 2001, at 02:30 UTC (October 23, 19:30 PDT, 22:30 EDT).[7]

On May 28, 2002 (sol 210), NASA reported that Odyssey's GRS instrument had detected large amounts of hydrogen, a sign that there must be ice lying within a meter of the planet's surface, and proceeded to map the distribution of water below the shallow surface.[8] The orbiter also discovered vast deposits of bulk water ice near the surface of equatorial regions.[9]

By December 15, 2010, it broke the record for longest serving spacecraft at Mars, with 3,340 days of operation.[10] Odyssey has also served as the primary means of communications for NASA's Mars surface explorers in the past decade, up to the Curiosity rover. It currently holds the record for the longest-surviving continually active spacecraft in orbit around a planet other than Earth, ahead of the Pioneer Venus Orbiter (served 14 years[11]) and the Mars Express (serving over 19 years), at 22 years, 1 month and 1 day. As of October 2019 it is in a polar orbit around Mars with a semi-major axis of about 3,800 km or 2,400 miles. It is estimated to have enough propellant to function until the end of 2025.[12]

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