This Day in History – April 7, 2001 – Mars Odyssey 2001 Spacecraft Launched

By: Sean Sporman
By: Sean Sporman

An unmanned spacecraft that remains operational to this day around the planet Mars was launched from Earth on this day in history.

Named after the classic science fiction tale 2001: A Space Odyssey, Mars Odyssey 2001 launched from Florida on April 7th, 2001 aboard a Delta II rocket.

The probe was equipped with a variety of instruments and cameras to study the Red Planet, including the study of minerals, radiation and the search for water.

Mars Odyssey 2001 arrived at Mars in October of 2001 and remains operational to this day, even after 13 years.

Aside from the study of the Red Planet, Mars Odyssey 2001 also has assisted other Mars craft including the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter as well as the Spirit and Opportunity Rovers.

NASA says that the probe could continue to operate for at least one or several more years to come.

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