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.
September 28, 2015
September 2, 2015
August 24, 2015
June 8, 2015
May 5, 2015
March 25, 2015
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
How does CRISM measure the surface and the atmosphere?
CRISM is a hyperspectral reflectance spectrometer. That means that CRISM measures sunlight that passes through Mars’ atmosphere, hits the surface and interacts with the materials there, then “reflects” back through the atmosphere and into space where the instrument records the amount of light received at each of hundreds of different wavelengths. Different types of minerals on the surface and dust, ice, and gases in the atmosphere absorb the sunlight at particular wavelengths. The wavelengths where the light is absorbed is a fingerprint of the minerals, ices, and gases on the surface and in the atmosphere. Usually CRISM looks "down" at a target as the MRO spacecraft flies over it. Sometimes, CRISM is pointed at the horizon, or limb, of Mars in order to better see the vertical structure of the atmosphere, like clouds!
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 uses colors in reflected sunlight to investigate the mineralogy of the Martian surface and the composition and processes of the Martian atmosphere.