Why Water? - Glossary

Arctic plain
bitter cold, flat land

Circumpolar region
area around the north and south poles

Mars Exploration Rovers
robotic vehicles that travel over the surface of Mars analyzing the rocks and soils and looking for clues to past water activity

Insulate
slow transfer of heat

Mars Global Surveyor
a NASA Mars probe that was cancelled in May 2000 after a failed mission; the Lander's companion spacecraft, renamed 2001 Mars Odyssey, was successfully launched on October 24, 2001

Mars Odyssey Orbiter
NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey Orbiter continues to return spectacular images of Mars, paving the way for future missions. The Mars Odyssey spacecraft journeyed for more than six months before placing itself in orbit around the red planet in October, 2001. Its main objective was to scour the planet's surface to find out what the planet is made of and if there is any water or ice to be found there. The Mars Odyssey Orbiter is equipped with three scientific instruments that it uses to explore the Martian surface and atmosphere. The gamma-ray spectrometer (GRS) measures how much hydrogen exists in the upper levels of the planet's soil. The thermal emissions imaging system (THEMIS) identifies rock and mineral types on the planet's surface and searches for traces of hydrothermal activity. And the Martian radiation environment experiment (MARIE) gathers information about radiation on the planet

Meteorological data
information about the atmosphere and weather


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