Mars explorer breaks longevity record
December 16th, 2010
01:36 PM ET

Mars explorer breaks longevity record

Time for a party on Mars.

NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft has been exploring the Red Planet for 3,340 days as of Wednesday evening, making it the longest-serving craft in that neighborhood of space, NASA said.

Odyssey broke the record set by NASA's Mars Global Surveyor, which orbited Mars from 1997 to 2006.

After its launch in 2001, Odyssey detected hydrogen on Mars in 2002. That prompted NASA to launch the Phoenix Mars Lander mission, which confirmed the presence of water ice on the planet in 2008, NASA said.

Odyssey serves as the data storage post and communications relay for several Mars exploration programs, and it will do likewise for the planned landing of the Mars Science Laboratory in 2012, NASA said.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which manages the Odyssey program, this month released a set of spectacular images of Mars' surface shot by cameras on the Odyssey.

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soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Lisababy

    Now thats cool!

    December 16, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Frank

    People of America,
    This goes to show what Americans can acomplish with superior Engineering and Technology skills to advance knowledge thru the exploration of space.
    PS:I worked on this program in the development of the motors that actuate the cameras on the rovers.

    December 16, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jenna

      Really? You did? That must have been amazing! You should be very proud for what you have done. You have helped many people learn more about Mars with those images.

      P.S. The images were very beautiful!

      December 16, 2010 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom McLaughlin - Santa Fe, NM

      Thank you for being a part of a very successful and knowledge enrichening team.

      January 10, 2011 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sick

    All that and we still cant cure the common cold?

    December 16, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jenna

    I find it amazing how we have so many oppertunities to discover thing like this!

    December 16, 2010 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nostradufus

      We also have opportunities to learn how to spell.

      December 16, 2010 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Foghorn Crapthrower

    And we could practice bombing Mars someday. If we devised a way to bomb mars then they would be more afraid of our bombs. Bombs are the key. We need more bombs and more better bombs than the bombs we drop now. Sure, we need smart bombs but we need stuopid bombs too. Bombs that are just big dumb bombs and nobody knows where they will land exactly. That should shock and awe something. So we need bombs.

    December 16, 2010 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Kevin

    Maybe JPL should get into the car business

    December 16, 2010 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. oneman

    Good stuff. We need more positive stories out there. Exploring mars is fantabulous.

    December 17, 2010 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
  8. Mogwi

    Wait! There's actually water ice on mars? That's awesome! Let's go!

    December 17, 2010 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  9. Richard in Texas

    I am confused. Where are all the people who think that the government can't do anything right (the government take over scare crowd) or that scientists don't know what they are talking about?(The global climate change is a myth crowd)? Me personally think this is really cool!

    December 17, 2010 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  10. Mr G

    There appears to be directional wind and sand erosion that eats away at those crater ridges and other structures. The wind direction would be from right to left of the image. Even a atmosphere that is much less denser than Terra Firma can change landscapes over time. Interesting image.

    January 10, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |