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Mars Odyssey aerobraking continues
Posted: Thu, Nov 15, 2001, 5:59 PM ET (2259 GMT)
THEMIS infrared and visible image of Mars (NASA/JPL) NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft entered the main aerobraking phase of its mission this week in excellent condition, project officials said. Originally in an 18.5-hour orbit, the initial phase of the aerobraking has trimmed the orbit to a 15-hour one. When aerobraking is completed in January the spacecraft will be in a circular two-hour orbit. The spacecraft's closest approaches to the planet, 110 km above the surface, have taken place in the north polar regions, where a polar vortex shields the region from the dust storms that have taken place elsewhere on the planet. The spacecraft's visible-light camera, part of the THEMIS instrument, took its first image earlier this month, which was released to the public on November 13. The image is of the solar polar regions, the same imaged by THEMIS in infrared wavelengths in late October.
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