CRISM (Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars)
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Quick Facts

  • CRISM stands for Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars.
  • CRISM is part of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, or MRO, spacecraft.
  • MRO launched in August 2005 from Cape Canaveral, Florida and entered Mars' orbit in March 2006.
  • MRO's Primary Science Phase started in November 2006 and ended in November 2008. MRO is now in an extended mission.
  • CRISM is one of six science instruments on MRO.
  • CRISM was built and managed at the Johns Hopkins University / Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland.
  • CRISM is the Johns Hopkins University / Applied Physics Laboratory's first science instrument on a Mars mission.
  • CRISM uses colors in reflected sunlight to investigate the mineralogy of the Martian surface and the composition and processes of the Martian atmosphere.
  • 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.
  • CRISM maps the surface Mars to find locations where there was persistent past water and to understand processes that helped to form Mars' crust.
  • CRISM data were essential in helping choose the landing site for the Mars Science Laboratory mission (the Curiosity rover) and will help with the Mars 2020 Rover!
  • In June 2011, CRISM science and operations team members received two NASA Public Service Group Achievement Awards for an outstanding mission. At the same time, CRISM's PI received a NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal.