Odyssey Completes 20 years: NASA releases Electric Blue Dune Images

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the US recently released the image of Mars to mark the 20th anniversary of Odyssey. The image depicted Dunes in Mars.

About the images

  • The set of images released were clicked on the Mars at 172.1 degrees east longitude and 80.3 degrees north latitude. The planet looked in electric blue in the image.
  • The title of the image was “Blue Dunes on the Red Planet”.
  • The image combines shots taken by the Mars Orbiter Odyssey in December 2002 and November 2004.
  • The image had two types of dunes. One set of dunes were bluish representing colder climates. The other set of dunes were yellowish in colour and represented warmer climates.

About the Dunes

  • Dune is a landform made by wind or water driven sand.
  • The Dunes captured were as big as the American state of Texas.
  • The THEMIS instrument on the Mars Odyssey captured the shots. THEMIS is Thermal Emission Imaging System. It had sent more than one million images since it began orbiting the planet.
  • Odyssey entered the Mars orbit in 2001.


  • Odyssey is the longest lasting spacecraft in Mars till date. It was launched on April 7, 2001. It arrived at Mars on October 24, 2001.
  • Odyssey detected large amounts of Hydrogen. It is a sign that ice should be lying within a metre of the surface of the planet.
  • Odyssey also discovered water ice near the surface of equatorial regions of the red planet.

Objectives of Odyssey

The main objectives of the mission were as follows:

  • To map the levels of elements across the entire Martian surface.
  • To determine how much hydrogen exists in shallow sub surfaces of the planet.
  • To provide information about the morphology of the surface of the planet.
  • To identify radiation induced risks to humans in the planet.




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