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 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 images dark flows known as "recurring slope lineae" on the surface of Mars.

  • CRISM (shown here on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter) delivers important new science and shows the way for past, present and future Mars rovers.

  • Multiple images have been taken to characterize surface hazards in preparation for the Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity) rover mission.

  • MESDT (Mars Exploration Student Data Teams) participants discuss Martian geology.

Latest News

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

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.

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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 is part of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, or MRO, spacecraft.

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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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