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
  • 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

June 8, 2015
Martian glass: Window into possible past life?

Researchers have used CRISM data to detect deposits of glass within impact craters on Mars; these glasses just might provide a delicate window into the possibility of past life on the Red Planet. [more]


May 5, 2015
New video: “CRISM: Exploring the Geology of Mars”

APL’s ​​Christina Beck describes how she and other researchers use data from CRISM to understand the history and formation of Valles Marineris, one of the largest canyons in the solar system.


March 25, 2015
Ancient Martian lake system records two water-related events

Researchers combined images from NASA's CTX instrument with mineralogical data from NASA's CRISM orbiting spectrometer to create a geologic history of flowing water on the surface of Mars nearly 4 billion years ago. [more]


October 24, 2014
New Images Show Comet Siding Spring's Coma
Infrared images of C/2013 (Comet Siding Spring) were taken on Oct. 19, 2014 as it passed close to Mars. The images show the inner part of the cloud of dust, called the coma, that is generated around the comet's nucleus by the warmth of the sun. [more]


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]

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 is albedo?

Albedo is a measure of the amount of light that is reflected from a surface (rock, mineral, soil, etc.) at a particular wavelength.  A dark rock reflects only a small portion of sunlight that hits it, thus it has a low albedo. You can think of albedo as the fraction of light that is reflected from a surface as compared to what would reflect from a perfectly diffuse, white surface.

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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 the Johns Hopkins University / Applied Physics Laboratory's first science instrument on a Mars mission.

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NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory CRISM
Editor: JHU/APL Webmaster
JHU/APL Official: K. Beisser

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