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ASU Mars Research on National Stage

ASU Mars research is front and center for the American public, as the cover article of the January 2004 issue of National Geographic Magazine features images and findings from the THEMIS instrument on NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft, currently orbiting Mars. THEMIS is directed by Dr. Philip Christensen, ASU Regents Professor and Korrick Professor of Geological Sciences, whose research team is featured in a three-page fold-out in the issue. The 20+ page article talks about the geology and climate of the Red Planet, as uncovered by THEMIS, including an important theory, originally proposed by Dr. Christensen and now becoming widely accepted, that describes how current martian snow and ice deposits may be melting underneath and creating flowing streams of liquid water.

This issue of National Geographic is timed to coincide with the landings in January of the dual Mars Exploration Rovers, “Spirit” and “Opportunity.” The MER rovers are the most important and ambitious pieces of Mars exploration undertaken to date, and ASU is heavily involved in the missions with four scientists playing major roles – Christensen, and fellow geologists Ronald Greeley, Jack Farmer and James Rice – more than from any other university. ASU is also highly involved in the three orbiting spacecraft that will be working with rovers, contributing data to the exploration and relaying the rovers signals back to earth. All-in-all, ASU is playing a pivotal role in this exciting and ambitious piece of planetary exploration.

Read more:

For more information, contact James Hathaway, 480-965-6375 or

National Geographic

Read More:

• Mars Student Imaging Project (MSIP)
• MSIP Curriculum Overview
• Mars Education Program
• Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS)
• Jet Propulsion Laboratory
• 2001 Mars Odyssey
• ASU’s Department of Geological Sciences
• Chain Reaction Magazine
• ASU Research Magazine

News Releases:
• ASU Mars discovery links melting snow to gullies
• Photography for Public Use: First MSIP Photo news release
• Odyssey thermal data reveals a changing Mars
• ASU findings could dash hopes for past oceans on Mars
• Opportunity launch presents anticipation for ASU, NASA
•  Students Begin Exploring Mars with NASA’s Mars Odyssey
• Students to Release First Mars Image, Science Findings from Next Generation

• Scientists, children eager for deeper look at Red Planet
• Watch Global Warming Happen in Real Time – on Mars



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