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Mars Odyssey snaps first image
Posted: Thu, Nov 1, 2001, 3:46 PM ET (2046 GMT)
THEMIS image of Mars (NASA/JPL) NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft has taken its first image of the Red Planet since entering orbit last week. The image of the south polar regions of Mars was taken by Odyssey's thermal emission imaging system (THEMIS) system on Tuesday and was released to the public a day later. From an altitude of 22,000 km, the infrared image shows the cold (-120 degree C) south polar cap as well as the temperature differences between the day and night side of the planet. A member of the THEMIS instrument team told SPACE.com that the image had "exceeded our expectations" and showed that the instrument was working very well. A visible-light camera on Odyssey has been turned on, but has not yet been instructed to take an image. The spacecraft is continuing to aerobrake, gradually shifting towards its final circular orbit, with no problems reported.
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