Odyssey launched on April 7, 2001, from Space Launch Complex 17A at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), in Florida. It took off to space aboard the Delta II 7425 delivery system.
It arrived at, and reached orbital insertion around Mars several months later, and then began its primary science mission immediately. Of the 10 years the orbiter has been operational, 9 years and 2 months have been spent conducting actual scientific investigations. Thus far, the relay antenna aboard Mars Odyssey has sent back in excess of 130,000 images, collected with the advanced suite of instruments that the orbiter is equipped with. Datasets cover climate, mineralogy and geology, experts say.
This spacecraft is one of the main reasons why we now know that there was liquid water on the Martian surface at one point in its distant past. The NASA Phoenix Mars Lander mission, which landed on our neighboring planet in 2008, confirmed Odyssey’s findings. (more…)