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

  • Mars Gullies Likely Not Formed By Liquid Water             

  • Evidence Builds for Old Under-Ice Volcanoes on Mars             

  • New CRISM Data Products Offer Greater Accessibility to Mars Researchers             

  • Study Finds Evidence for More Recent Clay Formation on Mars               

  • NASA Confirms Evidence That Liquid Water Flows on Today’s Mars               

  • What Happened to Early Mars' Atmosphere? New Study Eliminates One Theory

  • 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

July 29, 2016
Mars Gullies Likely Not Formed By Liquid Water

New findings using CRISM data show that gullies on modern Mars are most likely not being formed by flowing liquid water. This new evidence will allow researchers to further narrow theories as to the mechanisms behind the formation of gullies on Mars. [more]


June 15, 2016
Spectroscopy on Mars: A Look at What’s Been Uncovered About the Red Planet

In this interview by Spectroscopy Editors, CRISM Co-Investigator Ray Arvidson discusses "how spectroscopy has played a significant role in the Mars expeditions, including the confirmation of the former presence of water on the Red Planet." [more]


May 3, 2016
CRISM Reveals Clues about Volcanoes Under Ice on Ancient Mars

Volcanoes erupted beneath an ice sheet on Mars billions of years ago, far from any ice sheet on the Red Planet today, new evidence from CRISM suggests. [more]


March 17, 2016
New CRISM Data Products Offer Greater Accessibility to Mars Researchers

CRISM has acquired tens of thousands of targeted, high-resolution, hyperspectra Mars observations – and now, thanks to two new data products in the Planetary Data System, that data will be much more accessible to researchers. [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 are visible and infrared wavelengths?

Visible wavelengths of light are those wavelengths - corresponding to colors - that we can detect with our eyes, ranging from 400 to 700 nanometers on the electromagnetic spectrum. Infrared wavelengths are longer than visible wavelengths and range from 700 nanometers to 1 millimeter.  The wavelengths of infrared light are longer because infrared photons have lower energy than visible photons, and vibrate at lower frequencies. The wavelengths of light that CRISM detects are from about 400 to 3920 nanometers, and so includes the visible and “near” infrared.  CRISM has two separate detectors that return useful data covering 410-1023 nanometers (the "VNIR" detector), and from 1030 to 3920 nanometers (the "IR" detector).

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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 one of six science instruments on MRO.

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NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory CRISM
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