Mission Elapsed Time
What is CRISM?
The Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) is 1 of 6 science experiments on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which takes measurements of both the surface and the atmosphere of Mars.
CRISM data are used to find minerals’ spectral signatures on Mars. Different minerals form in different settings, ranging from ancient lakes and deltas to volcanic lava flows. We use the mineral evidence to understand how different geologic processes have shaped the planet over time. CRISM also observes the polar ice caps and atmosphere to understand seasonal and year-to-year variations in the Martian weather.
July 29, 2016
June 15, 2016
May 3, 2016
March 17, 2016
Read about the career paths that led members of the CRISM team into space exploration.
CRISM Spectral Library
The MRO CRISM Spectral Library is an analysis tool for interpreting CRISM data. it currently contains 2,260 spectral analyses of 1,134 Mars-analog samples, all measured under desiccating conditions so that materials that adsorb water look as they would on Mars. This was made avaialble to the community through the PDS on the day that MRO entered Mars orbit!
Hi-Res Image Map
How do CRISM's discoveries affect future Mars missions?
A major objective of Mars exploration is to find the rock records of past environments that could have supported primitive life, and to search for evidence of whether or not life formed. CRISM “sees” minerals that formed in past water, enabling scientists to find rock formations that preserve past watery environments. This ability makes CRISM images essential tools for selecting the landing sites for landed missions that explore the record of ancient habitable environments. CRISM data helped to pick the landing site for the Curiosity rover in Gale Crater, and they are used to steer the Opportunity rover to new rock outcrops to explore. In the future, CRISM images will even be used to help to select the site for future return of samples from the surface of Mars back to Earth!
MSL Site Selection
CRISM has been supporting landing site selection for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission with hundreds of observations that have been converted to color and mineral indicator maps. [ more ]
In its high-resolution "targeted" operating mode, in less than 3 minutes CRISM can acquire a hyperspectral image covering 100-200 square kilometers. In its lower-resolution mapping or "survey" mode, it takes a long multispectral image strip every 3 minutes that covers about 60,000 square kilometers.