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
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.
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 maps the surface Mars to find locations where there was persistent past water and to understand processes that helped to form Mars' crust.