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
  • CRISM Prepares For Mars-grazing Comet Siding Spring                          

  • 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

October 9, 2014
CRISM Prepares For Mars-grazing Comet Siding Spring
Up to and during Comet Siding Spring's fly-by of Mars on Oct. 19, NASA's Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) will attempt to capture data about the comet that is unobtainable from Earth. [more]

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

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!

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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 ]


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.

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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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