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Published June 5, 2003 | Supplemental Material
Journal Article Open

Morphology and Composition of the Surface of Mars: Mars Odyssey THEMIS Results


The Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) on Mars Odyssey has produced infrared to visible wavelength images of the martian surface that show lithologically distinct layers with variable thickness, implying temporal changes in the processes or environments during or after their formation. Kilometer-scale exposures of bedrock are observed; elsewhere airfall dust completely mantles the surface over thousands of square kilometers. Mars has compositional variations at 100-meter scales, for example, an exposure of olivine-rich basalt in the walls of Ganges Chasma. Thermally distinct ejecta facies occur around some craters with variations associated with crater age. Polar observations have identified temporal patches of water frost in the north polar cap. No thermal signatures associated with endogenic heat sources have been identified.

Additional Information

© 2003 American Association for the Advancement of Science. 26 November 2002; accepted 14 May 2003; published online 5 June 2003. We would like to sincerely thank all those at Raytheon Santa Barbara Remote Sensing who built the THEMIS instrument, and those at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Lockheed Martin Astronautics, and Arizona State University, who built and operate the Odyssey spacecraft. This work was supported by the NASA Mars Odyssey Flight Project.

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