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


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CRISM Downloads

CRISM View



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
  • Evidence Builds for Old Under-Ice Volcanoes on Mars             

  • New CRISM Data Products Offer Greater Accessibility to Mars Researchers             

  • Study Finds Evidence for More Recent Clay Formation on Mars               

  • NASA Confirms Evidence That Liquid Water Flows on Today’s Mars               

  • What Happened to Early Mars' Atmosphere? New Study Eliminates One Theory

  • Martian glass: Window into possible past life?                                                  

  • APL’s ​​C. Beck describes how CRISM helps researchers understand the history and formation of Valles Marineris.                         

  • Ancient Martian lake system records two water-related events                         

  • CRISM Reveals New Images of Comet Siding Spring's Coma                          

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

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

Latest News

May 3, 2016
CRISM Reveals Clues about Volcanoes Under Ice on Ancient Mars

Volcanoes erupted beneath an ice sheet on Mars billions of years ago, far from any ice sheet on the Red Planet today, new evidence from CRISM suggests. [more]


March 17, 2016
New CRISM Data Products Offer Greater Accessibility to Mars Researchers

CRISM has acquired tens of thousands of targeted, high-resolution, hyperspectra Mars observations – and now, thanks to two new data products in the Planetary Data System, that data will be much more accessible to researchers. [more]


December 15, 2015
Study Finds Evidence for More Recent Clay Formation on Mars

Alteration of minerals by water may have been common on Mars into the second half of the planet’s age, a new analysis of observations – including many by CRISM – suggests. [more]


September 28, 2015
NASA Confirms Evidence That Liquid Water Flows on Today’s Mars

New findings from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) – including data from CRISM – provide the strongest evidence yet that liquid water flows intermittently on present-day Mars. [more]


September 2, 2015
What Happened to Early Mars’ Atmosphere? New Study Eliminates One Theory

A new analysis of the largest known deposit of carbonate minerals on Mars suggests that the original Martian atmosphere may have already lost most of its carbon dioxide by the era of valley network formation. [more]


August 24, 2015
Opportunity Rover Busy at Work To Expand Understanding of CRISM Data

NASA’s Opportunity rover is in Mars’ Marathon Valley, beginning a long measurement campaign to understand the geologic setting and source of the smectites detected using CRISM data. [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

Why should we study Mars?

Lots of reasons!  One is that Mars is made up of the same raw solar system materials that came together to form the planet Earth.  However, on Earth, plate tectonics has recycled almost all of the oldest rocks; consequently, we know little about what Earth was like when it was very young - when asteroids and comets were heavily bombarding the planet, and oceans and life were just getting started. Mars, on the other hand, does not have plate tectonics and so the record of that earliest period is still there for us to see. By understanding the geological evolution of Mars we will come to better understand what early Earth could have been like. Another reason is that Mars is a laboratory for studying weather. Like Earth it has seasons, ice caps, and winter frost. Unlike Earth, it lacks oceans. That makes Mars a simpler test case for models of how weather works.

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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 ]

CRISM Facts

CRISM is part of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, or MRO, spacecraft.

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JHU/APL Official: D. Turney

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