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Mars Odyssey Orbiter

April 05, 2001

One of the chief scientific objectives of 2001 Mars Odyssey is to map the chemical elements and minerals that make up the Martian surface. Other mission objectives:

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* To measure the amount of hydrogen in Mars' subsurface

* To acquire high-resolution thermal infrared images of surface minerals

* To gather information about the structure of the Martian surface

* To record the radiation environment on the way to Mars and in Mars' orbit for assessing risk to human explorers

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Note: Odyssey will also serve as a communication relay for U.S. or international scientific orbiters and landers in 2003 and beyond.

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Spacecraft

The framework of the spacecraft is composed mostly of aluminum and some titanium. The use of titanium, a lighter and more expensive metal, is an efficient way to conserve mass while retaining strength. The same materials are used in the construction of high-performance fighter aircraft.

How Stuff Works: www.howstuffworks.com

Source: NASA

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