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
What questions does CRISM investigate?
The CRISM investigation strives to answer three major questions. First, where and when were there past environments suitable for life? The evidence being sought is the spectral fingerprints of silicate, sulfate, and carbonate minerals that indicate past liquid water. Second, how does Mars' atmosphere work and how is it different from Earth's? CRISM measures and tracks the amount of dust, ice, water vapor and other trace gases in the atmosphere, and how volatile materials migrate back and forth between polar ice and the atmosphere. Third, what processes formed Mars' crust? CRISM studies this by mapping the geology, composition and layering of surface features. Most of the crust was formed by volcanism and impact cratering, but water also shaped it. How these processes formed the crust is recorded by the minerals present.
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 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!