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.
May 5, 2015
March 25, 2015
October 24, 2014
October 9, 2014
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
What types of minerals are found on Mars?
Mostly, Mars' surface contains the same minerals that are found on Earth. The most common are pyroxene, olivine, and feldspar that form volcanic rocks, and iron oxides (which make Mars red) formed by weathering of volcanic/basaltic rocks. Aqueous minerals - formed by interaction with water - such as clays, carbonates, and sulfates are also found on Mars, and tend to be more interesting scientifically because they act as markers for wet environments in the planet’s past. CRISM has also found evidence for a mineral - a form of iron sulfate - that does not occur on Earth because no part of Earth is dry enough to allow the mineral to persist!
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 ]
CRISM is the Johns Hopkins University / Applied Physics Laboratory's first science instrument on a Mars mission.