The Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) for the Mars 2001 Odyssey mission

Philip Christensen, Bruce M. Jakosky, Hugh H. Kieffer, Michael C. Malin, Harry Y. McSween, Kenneth Nealson, Greg L. Mehall, Steven H. Silverman, Steven Ferry, Michael Caplinger, Michael Ravine

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

814 Scopus citations


The Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) on 2001 Mars Odyssey will investigate the surface mineralogy and physical properties of Mars using multi-spectral thermal-infrared images in nine wavelengths centered from 6.8 to 14.9 μm, and visible/near-infrared images in five bands centered from 0.42 to 0.86 μm. THEMIS will map the entire planet in both day and night multi-spectral infrared images at 100-m per pixel resolution, 60% of the planet in one-band visible images at 18-m per pixel, and several percent of the planet in 5-band visible color. Most geologic materials, including carbonates, silicates, sulfates, phosphates, and hydroxides have strong fundamental vibrational absorption bands in the thermal-infrared spectral region that provide diagnostic information on mineral composition. The ability to identify a wide range of minerals allows key aqueous minerals, such as carbonates and hydrothermal silica, to be placed into their proper geologic context. The specific objectives of this investigation are to: (1) determine the mineralogy and petrology of localized deposits associated with hydrothermal or sub-aqueous environments, and to identify future landing sites likely to represent these environments; (2) search for thermal anomalies associated with active sub-surface hydrothermal systems; (3) study small-scale geologic processes and landing site characteristics using morphologic and thermophysical properties; and (4) investigate polar cap processes at all seasons. THEMIS follows the Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) and Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) experiments, providing substantially higher spatial resolution IR multi-spectral images to complement TES hyperspectral (143-band) global mapping, and regional visible imaging at scales intermediate between the Viking and MOC cameras. The THEMIS uses an uncooled microbolometer detector array for the IR focal plane. The optics consists of all-reflective, three-mirror anastigmat telescope with a 12-cm effective aperture and a speed of f/1.6. The IR and visible cameras share the optics and housing, but have independent power and data interfaces to the spacecraft. The IR focal plane has 320 cross-track pixels and 240 downtrack pixels covered by 10 ∼1-μm-bandwidth strip filters in nine different wavelengths. The visible camera has a 1024 × 1024 pixel array with 5 filters. The instrument weighs 11.2 kg, is 29 cm by 37 cm by 55 cm in size, and consumes an orbital average power of 14 W.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-130
Number of pages46
JournalSpace Science Reviews
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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