NASA satellite has stared at Mars for 3,340 days

NASA Mars Odyssey sets exploration longevity record

nasa odyssey
NASA's Mars Odyssey satellite today set the record for longest exploration of the red planet.  The orbiting satellite has been watching Mars for 3,340 days. 

15 reasons why Mars is one hot, hot, hot planet 

The satellite has broken the record set by NASA's Mars Global Surveyor, which orbited Mars from 1997 to 2006. 

Almost since its launch in 2001 Odyssey has been a key cog in United States Mars research as it has  served as a communication relay, handling most of the data sent home by Phoenix and NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity. Odyssey became the middle link for continuous observation of Martian weather by NASA's Mars Global Surveyor and NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), NASA stated. 

Odyssey's key scientific achievements include creating the most detailed maps ever made of the red planet; detecting hydrogen just below the surface throughout Mars' high-latitude region and determining radiation levels around the planet from solar flares and cosmic rays are two to three times higher than around Earth.

And it will continue to play a role in the future as a system supporting the 2012 landing of the Mars Science Laboratory, NASA stated.  NASA calls the laboratory, which is expected to operate for at least two years, the biggest astrobiology mission to Mars ever. The Mars Science Laboratory rover will carry the biggest, most advanced suite of instruments for scientific studies ever sent to the Martian surface, NASA said. The rover's onboard laboratory will study rocks, soils, and the local geologic setting in order to detect chemical building blocks of life.

Follow Michael Cooney on Twitter: nwwlayer8   

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