NASA retires mineral mapping instrument on Mars Orbiter

NASA switched off one of its oldest instruments studying Mars early this month, the agency announced on Tuesday.

The instrument, named the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM), was aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for 17 years, revealing minerals such as clays, hematite, and sulfates across the Red Planet’s surface.

CRISM produced high-resolution mineral maps crucial in helping scientists understand how lakes, streams, and groundwater shaped the planet billions of years ago, according to NASA.

NASA has also relied on CRISM maps to figure out where the most scientifically interesting landing sites for its spacecrafts, such as Gale Crater, which NASA’s Curiosity rover has been exploring since 2012, and Jezero Crater, where NASA’s Perseverance rover recently collected its 19th sample.

CRISM was switched off on April 3, a step that has been planned since last year, according to NASA. ■

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