CRISM (Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars)
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Headline Archive

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]

December 15, 2015
Study Finds Evidence for More Recent Clay Formation on Mars

Alteration of minerals by water may have been common on Mars into the second half of the planet’s age, a new analysis of observations – including many by CRISM – suggests. [more]

September 28, 2015
NASA Confirms Evidence That Liquid Water Flows on Today’s Mars

New findings from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) – including data from CRISM – provide the strongest evidence yet that liquid water flows intermittently on present-day Mars. [more]

September 2, 2015
What Happened to Early Mars’ Atmosphere? New Study Eliminates One Theory

A new analysis of the largest known deposit of carbonate minerals on Mars suggests that the original Martian atmosphere may have already lost most of its carbon dioxide by the era of valley network formation. [more]

August 24, 2015
Opportunity Rover Busy at Work To Expand Understanding of CRISM Data

NASA’s Opportunity rover is in Mars’ Marathon Valley, beginning a long measurement campaign to understand the geologic setting and source of the smectites detected using CRISM data. [more]

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]

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]

September 24, 2013
CRISM Reveals New Website
The new website for CRISM features more ways to access the instrument's data and more accessible search tools for both researchers and the public. [more]

April 19, 2013
Guiding NASA's "Curiosity": How CRISM Points the Way To Potential Discoveries
One of the key instruments that helped NASA determine where to land the Curiosity rover in 2012, part of the Mars Science Laboratory mission, was CRISM, on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) which entered Mars orbit in 2006. [more]

March 5, 2013
Students Make Real Contributions to Martian Science with CRISM Data
In classrooms across the country, high school and college students are helping scientists to analyze CRISM images through the Mars Exploration Student Data Teams (MESDT) program. [more]

January 20, 2013
CRISM Shows Martian Crater May Have Once Held Groundwater-Fed Lake
Data from CRISM on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is providing new evidence of a wet underground environment on Mars that adds to an increasingly complex picture of the Red Planet's early evolution. [more]

November 2, 2011
Using instruments including APL's Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer (CRISM) instrument on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, researchers now suggest that Martian environments with abundant liquid water on the surface existed only during short episodes. [more]

June 24, 2011
CRISM Principal Investigator Scott Murchie will be awarded the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, the highest honor that NASA bestows to an individual working outside the government, while the CRISM team will be awarded two NASA Public Service Group Achievement Awards. [more]

March 9, 2011
Some of Mars’ Missing Carbon Dioxide May Be Buried Rocks on Mars dug from far underground by crater-blasting impacts are providing glimpses of one possible way Mars' atmosphere has become much less dense than it used to be. [more]

December 17, 2010
NASA's Mars Opportunity rover is getting important tips from CRISM as it explores areas that might hold clues about past Martian environments. [more]

December 17, 2010
Science magazine just named “Water on Mars,” a discovery made possible in part by CRISM, as one of its 10 “Insights of the Decade.” [more]

October 31, 2010
Light-colored mounds of a mineral deposited on a volcanic cone over three billion years ago may preserve evidence of one of the most recent habitable microenvironments on Mars. [more]

June 24, 2010
New Clues Suggest Wet Era on Early Mars was Global

A phase in the early history of Mars with conditions favorable to life occurred globally rather than just in the south, new findings from the north suggest. [more]

March 2010
CRISM data was featured in several presentations at the 41st Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, March 1-5 in The Woodlands, Texas. [more]

February 11, 2010
Layers Piled in Martian Crater Record a History of Changes

Near the center of a Martian crater about the size of Connecticut, hundreds of exposed rock layers form a mound as tall as the Rockies and reveal a record of major environmental changes on Mars billions of years ago. [more]

December 18, 2008
Scientists Find 'Missing' Mineral and New Mars Mysteries

CRISM team members at the American Geophysical Union's Fall Meeting in San Francisco announce the discovery of intact bedrock layers of carbonate minerals on Mars--an important clue in resolving the mysteries of the Red Planet's watery past. [more]

December 11, 2008
Mars Orbiter Completes Prime Mission

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has completed its primary, two-year science phase. The spacecraft has found signs of a complex Martian history of climate change that produced a diversity of past watery environments. [more]

December 4, 2008
NASA Orbiter Finds Martian Rock Record With 10 Beats to the Bar

Researchers using the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera report the first measurement of a periodic signal in the rocks of Mars. This pushes climate-cycle fingerprints much earlier in Mars' history than more recent rhythms seen in Martian ice layers. It also may rekindle debates about some patterns of rock layering on Earth. [more]

November 26, 2008
JPL to Host Public Presentation on MRO Images and Findings

CRISM Principal Investigator Scott Murchie will speak Thursday, Dec. 4, at the Jet Propulstion Laboratory, in Pasadena, Calif. Murchie and other members of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s team will discuss the spacecraft’s successful primary science phase. [more]

November 19, 2008
Site List Narrows For NASA's Next Mars Landing

Four intriguing places on Mars have risen to the final round as NASA selects a landing site for its next Mars mission, the Mars Science Laboratory. [more]

November 18, 2008
NASA Invites Students to Name New Mars Rover

NASA is looking for the right stuff, or in this case, the right name for the next Mars rover. NASA, in cooperation with Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures' movie WALL-E from Pixar Animation Studios, will conduct a naming contest for its car-sized Mars Science Laboratory rover that is scheduled for launch in 2009.  [more]

October 28, 2008
NASA Orbiter Reveals Details of a Wetter Mars

Using CRISM, researchers have observed a new category of minerals spread across large regions of Mars. This discovery suggests that liquid water remained on the planet's surface a billion years later than scientists believed, and it played an important role in shaping the planet's surface and possibly hosting life. [more]

September 17, 2008
Online Collection of CRISM Observations Grows

More than 1,500 new images have been added to the CRISM online map. Visit to locate more than 4,500 images from observations of the Red Planet and to connect to the original data on NASA's Planetary Data System (PDS). [more]

August 8, 2008
CRISM in August 8 issue of Science

CRISM science team member Janice Bishop and her co-workers at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif., have found layers of different types of clay surrounding Mawrth Vallis that suggest widespread water and even hydrothermal activity. "We were surprised by the variety of clay minerals in this region," says Bishop. Read the SETI press release at and "Phyllosilicate Diversity and Past Aqueous Activity Revealed at Mawrth Vallis, Mars" at

July 16, 2008
New Findings Show Diverse, Wet Environments on Ancient Mars

Mars once hosted vast lakes, flowing rivers and a variety of other wet environments that had the potential to support life, according to two new studies based on data from CRISM and other instruments on board NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The results of one study appear in the July 17, 2008 issue of the journal Nature. [more]

April 21, 2008
New Online Map Reveals Evidence of the Forces that Once Shaped Mars

A new online map lets visitors explore Mars’ past through a collection of high-resolution observations from one of the most powerful spectrometers ever sent to the Red Planet. Evidence of ancient bodies of water, flowing rivers and groundwater peeks out from beneath layers of hardened magma and dust—testaments to Mars’ progression through wet, volcanic and dry eras. [more]

March 28, 2008
High School Students Help Explore Mars through Innovative Program

While most kids can only read about Mars exploration, four groups of high school students from around the country are getting the chance to plan observations of the Red Planet and join the science team analyzing data from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mission. + Read More

February 26, 2008
Free Online Seminar for Educators: March 6th, 6:30-8 p.m. EST

CRISM Principal Investigator S. Murchie will deliver a web seminar for educators on CRISM's role in Mars exploration as part of a series presented by the National Science Teachers Association, developed in collaboration with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Arizona State University. The seminar is designed to introduce educators of grades 5 through 12 to the amazing images and science behind this exciting investigation of the red planet. + Read More

December 19, 2007
Global Map Reveals Mineral Distribution on Mars

More than 200 just-released “spectral maps” reveal the distribution of various minerals on the surface of Mars—the first installment of the Global Mars Map, which will eventually cover the entire planet. The map is built from tens of thousands of image strips each about 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) wide and thousands of kilometers long, revealing data from 72 carefully selected wavelengths that cover absorptions indicative of the mineral groups that CRISM is looking for on Mars. + Read More

October 19, 2007
CRISM Has Key Role in Selecting Next Mars Rover Landing Site

Scientists scouting potential landing sites for NASA’s next Mars rover mission are using new data from CRISM to narrow the site selection. + Read more

September 21, 2007
NASA Orbiter Provides Insights About Mars Water and Climate

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is examining several features on Mars that address the role of water at different times in Martian history. Features examined with the orbiter's advanced instruments (such as CRISM) include material deposited in two gullies within the past eight years, polar ice layers formed in the recent geologic past, and signs of water released by large impacts when Mars was older. + Read more

June 27, 2007
CRISM Data Available on NASA’s Online Archive

The first images from the most powerful spectral camera ever sent to Mars – and innovative tools for working with this information – are now available on NASA's online planetary data archive. [more]

June 7, 2007
New Web Program Offers a Ride around the Red Planet

If you've ever wanted to soar over the surface of Mars, now you can – through the simulated eyes of CRISM. [more]

March 14, 2007
CRISM Tracks Unearthly Processes on the Martian South Polar Cap
[View Press Conference Graphics]

February 16, 2007
CRISM Uncovering Clues of Martian Surface Composition

Reaching its first 100 days of operations, the powerful mineral-detector aboard the newest satellite to circle Mars is changing the way scientists view the history of water on the red planet. [more]

December 13, 2006
NASA Spacecraft Read Layered Clues to Changes on Mars

Layers on Mars are yielding history lessons revealed by instruments flying overhead and rolling across the surface. Some of the first radar and imaging results from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter - including data from CRISM - show details in layers of ice-rich deposits near the poles. [more]

October 16, 2006
NASA Orbiter Reveals New Details of Mars

During their first week of observations from low orbit, CRISM and other instruments aboard NASA's newest Mars spacecraft are already revealing new clues about both recent and ancient environments on the red planet. [more]

October 12, 2006
CRISM Images Featured in Oct. 16 Mars Briefing

CRISM images will be among those discussed at a NASA news briefing at noon EDT on Monday, Oct. 16. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter team will present remarkably detailed images the spacecraft snapped during its first week of low-orbit observations. The briefing, held at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. Calif., will air live on NASA TV and on the Web. [more]

September 27, 2006
Cover Open, CRISM Ready to Work

CRISM, the most powerful mineral-mapper ever sent to Mars, has opened its protective cover and is about to begin its search for hints of past water on the red planet. CRISM's spring-loaded cover had been closed to protect the imager's sensitive telescope optics from fuel residue and heat as the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter eased into orbit around Mars. Today, a day after turning on CRISM's power and putting the device through a series of performance tests, operators opened the cover and verified that it had deployed properly. [more]

September 6, 2006
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Adjusts Angle of Orbit

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter fired its six intermediate-size thrusters for 210 seconds Tuesday in a maneuver to make the shape of its orbit closer to the planned geometry for the mission's main science phase, beginning in November. [more]

October 16, 2006
NASA Orbiter Reveals New Details of Mars

During their first week of observations from low orbit, CRISM and other instruments aboard NASA's newest Mars spacecraft are already revealing new clues about both recent and ancient environments on the red planet. [more]

June 19, 2006
Pace Quickens for Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

NASA's newest spacecraft at Mars has already cut the size and duration of each orbit by more than half, just 11 weeks into a 23-week process of shrinking its orbit. By other indicators, the lion's share of the job lies ahead. [more]

May 10, 2006
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Continues Aerobraking

NASA's latest orbiter to visit the Red Planet is well into its main phase of aerobraking. Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has cut about 10 hours off its initial orbit by strategically dipping in and out of Mars' thin atmosphere. [more]

March 21, 2006
CRISM Reaches the Red Planet

NASA's newest spacecraft to Mars is now circling the Red Planet with the powerful CRISM instrument poised to scan the Martian surface in unprecedented detail. [more]

November 18, 2005
MRO Tweaks Course, Passes Halfway Point

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter successfully fired six engines for about 20 seconds today to adjust its flight path in advance of its March 10, 2006, arrival at the Red Planet. [more]

August 12, 2005
CRISM Heads to Mars

With today's successful launch of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, CRISM is on the way to an unprecedented study of the Red Planet. [more]

August 10, 2005
CRISM Ready for Ride Aboard MRO

The launch of NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) is set for Thursday, August 11, from 7:50 to 9:35 a.m. EDT. Catch NASA's Live Web Coverage of the pre-launch activities and liftoff! [more]

July 21, 2005
NASA's New Mars Orbiter Will Sharpen Vision of Exploration

NASA's next mission to Mars will examine the Red Planet in unprecedented detail from low orbit and provide more data about the intriguing planet than all previous missions combined. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and its launch vehicle are nearing final stages of preparation at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., for a launch opportunity that begins Aug. 10. [more]

July 8, 2005
Fairing Prepares for Farewell
NASA puts the finishing touches on the protective fairing that will encapsulate the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter atop an Atlas V rocket. [more]

April 30, 2005
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Arrives in Florida for Final Checkout

A large spacecraft destined to be Earth's next robotic emissary to Mars has completed the first leg of its journey, a cargo-plane ride from Colorado to Florida in preparation for an August launch. NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is an important next step in fulfilling NASA's vision of space exploration and ultimately sending human explorers to Mars and beyond. [more]

April 7, 2005
Lockheed Martin Delivers MRO's Launch Vehicle to Cape Canaveral

Lockheed Martin delivered the vehicle that will launch the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mission to Mars. The Atlas V, designated AV-007, arrived at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., where the launch team will now begin preparations for the August 10 liftoff. [more]

August 9, 2004
MRO: One Year and Counting

With one very busy year remaining before launch, the team preparing the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has begun integrating and testing the spacecraft's versatile payload. [more]

January 7 , 2004
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission Status

Even as the Spirit and Opportunity rovers complete a year of successful operation on Mars, the next major step in Mars Exploration is taking shape with preparation of NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for launch in just seven months. [more]

November 13, 2003
Did a River Run Through Mars?

Newly seen details in a fan-shaped apron of debris on Mars may help settle a decades-long debate about whether the planet had long-lasting rivers instead of just brief, intense floods. [more]

September 25, 2003
NASA Eyes Next Trip to Mars

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter with a payload that includes the CRISM instrument will make a more comprehensive inspection of our planetary neighbor than any previous mission. [more]

May 1, 2003
Learn More About CRISM and Mars Exploration!

Join CRISM scientist Ben Bussey and the Maryland Science Center for a Teacher Thursday distance learning program on May 1, 2003. [more]

April 28, 2003
CRISM Marks Successful Design Review

The CRISM team passed a key development milestone this month when it successfully completed a Critical Design Review. The instrument is on track to join the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter payload. [more]

March 6, 2003
Scientists Say Mars Has a Liquid Iron Core

New information about what is inside Mars shows the Red Planet has a molten liquid iron core, confirming the interior of the planet has some similarity to Earth and Venus. [more]

February 19, 2003
Snow Gullies on Mars

When NASA's Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft photographed what looked like fresh rain gullies on Mars three years ago, researchers were baffled. The surface of Mars is extraordinarily dry. What could have carved the curious features? Now, thanks to data from the 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft, there's a new answer: melting snow. [more]

February 18, 2003
Women Working on Mars

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Mars Exploration Program and Robotics Education Project presented "Women Working on Mars: Engineering on the Red Planet" a look at some of the engineers who design, build and test robots destined for Mars. Click here for more information on this cool Webcast.

November 5, 2002
Imagine That! Mars Webcast Set for Dec. 13

On Dec. 13, 2002, as part of the Imagine Mars Project, Bill Nye the Science Guy and dancer/choreographer Debbie Allen will combine science and art in an interactive Webcast from 11 a.m. to noon PST. [more]

November 4, 2002
NASA Launches "Name the Rovers" Contest

American school kids can make history by naming two rovers that will explore Mars. The LEGO Company will manage NASA's "Name the Rovers" contest in conjunction with The Planetary Society. The contest is open for submissions through Jan. 31, 2003. [more]

June 11, 2002
MRO Gets a Ride!

NASA has chosen the Atlas III expendable vehicle for the launch of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, scheduled in 2005. [more]

May 28, 2002
A Cool Discovery: Water Ice on Mars!

Using instruments on NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft, surprised scientists have found enormous quantities of buried treasure lying just under the surface of Mars enough water ice to fill Lake Michigan twice over. Check out a NASA Science News story on this amazing discovery. [more]

May 11, 2002
Seeing Mars through a CRISM

During Comcast-Discovery Space Academy: Mission Mars, more than 100 middle schoolers learned how scientists from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab will use CRISM to explore the Red Planet. [more]

Nov. 9, 2001
APL Joins Search for Water on Mars

The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., will provide a key science instrument on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the spacecraft NASA plans to send to the Red Planet in 2005. [more]

Nov. 9, 2001
NASA Selects 10 Investigations for 2005 Mars Orbiter

NASA announced the selection of 10 scientific investigations as part of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mission. The 2005 mission will carry six primary instruments that will greatly enhance the search for evidence of water, take pictures of objects about the size of a beach ball, and search for future landing sites on the Martian surface. [more]