Mars Odyssey’s First Look at Mars Is All Treat, No Trick NASA

NASA’s 2001 Mars Odyssey gave mission managers a real treat this Halloween with its first look at the red planet. It’s a thermal infrared image of the martian southern hemisphere that captures the south polar carbon dioxide ice cap at a temperature of about minus 120 C (minus 184 F). The image, taken as part of the calibration and testing process for the instrument, shows the nighttime temperatures of Mars, demonstrating the “night-vision” capability of the camera system to observe Mars even when the surface is in darkness.