2001: A Mars Odyssey

NASA returns to Mars with an orbiting spacecraft that will search for water, past and present

15 min read
An artist’s impression of the Odyssey spacecraft in orbit around Mars.
An artist’s impression of the Odyssey spacecraft in orbit around Mars includes the long boom of the gamma ray spectrometer and the thermal blanketing covering even the high-gain radio antenna dish.
Image: NASA

On 7 April, a probe will set out for Mars that could be pivotal in the search for water—and life—on the red planet. The 2001 Mars Odyssey orbiter will also be attempting to erase memories of the failure of the last two NASA missions to that destination.

The Odyssey’s mission is to map the planet’s geology, paying particular attention to the role of water, both past and present. Recent results from the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS), in orbit since 1997, have brought interest in water there to fever pitch. Last June, pictures from the MGS indicated that brief flows of liquid water could have been present on the planet as recently as any time between yesterday and two million years ago. In December, the discovery of layered deposits of rock at multiple locations on the planet suggested sedimentation left by ancient lakes.

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4 min read
overhead scene of trees and a lightbulb in middle

Simple, effective solutions that can help lessen the impact of climate change already exist. Some of them still need to be implemented, though, while others need to be improved.

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7 min read
Fine-Tuning the Factory: Simulation App Helps Optimize Additive Manufacturing Facility

An example of a part produced through the metal powder bed fusion process.

This sponsored article is brought to you by COMSOL.

History teaches that the Industrial Revolution began in England in the mid-18th century. While that era of sooty foundries and mills is long past, manufacturing remains essential — and challenging. One promising way to meet modern industrial challenges is by using additive manufacturing (AM) processes, such as powder bed fusion and other emerging techniques. To fulfill its promise of rapid, precise, and customizable production, AM demands more than just a retooling of factory equipment; it also calls for new approaches to factory operation and management.

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