CRISM (Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars)
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Beginning 12 Aug. 2005, 11:43:00 UTC

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CRISM View is a first-of-its-kind opportunity to watch Mars through the “eyes” of the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) – as if you were riding along with it on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter!
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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.

Featured Images

CRISM Featured Image RSS Feed
  • How CRISM picks the pixels that guide Opportunity's travels             

  • CRISM (shown here on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter) delivers important new science and shows the way for past, present and future Mars rovers.

  • Al-phyllosilicates overlying Fe/Mg-phyllosilicates is a recurring pattern that we see on Mars.

  • MESDT (Mars Exploration Student Data Teams) participants discuss Martian geology.

Latest News

January 23, 2014
Ten Years of Opportunity and Groundbreaking Mars Science
As NASA’s Opportunity Rover Marks its Tenth Anniversary, CRISM Continues to Show the Way for Past, Present, and Future Mars Rovers. [more]

December 5, 2013
A Close Look at Mars' Chemical History
In a new blog post by the Planetary Society's Emily Lakdawalla, called "Mars' chemical history: Phyllosian, Theiikian, Siderikian, oh my," she discusses how instruments like CRISM have greatly increased "the richness of the story that we can tell about Mars." [more]

November 19, 2013
Evidence Found for Granite on Mars
Researchers using data from CRISM have stronger evidence of granite on Mars and a new theory for how the granite – an igneous rock common on Earth – could have formed there, according to a new study. [more]

October 29, 2013
Martian Chronicles: CRISM
Scott Perl, CRISM Investigation Scientist at NASA JPL, has a new blog post on NASA's Mars Exploration Program site explaining how the Martian rovers use findings from CRISM and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to unlock the mysteries of Mars. [more]

Team Profiles

Team profile collage 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

Thousands of CRISM high-resolution images are available in easy-to-view format accessible through a searchable map. More are being added as they are converted from the full spectral data... [ more ]

Revealing Questions

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!

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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 ]


MRO launched in August 2005 from Cape Canaveral, Florida and entered Mars' orbit in March 2006.

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NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory CRISM
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JHU/APL Official: K. Beisser

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