Diagram of Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometers for Mars, one of six scientific instruments on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometers for Mars (CRISM)
The Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometers for Mars (CRISM) will search for the residue of minerals that form in the presence of water and might have been left by hot springs, thermal vents, lakes, or ponds on Mars far back in its history when water may have been present on the surface.
Even though certain landforms provide evidence that liquid water may have flowed on the surface of Mars long ago, evidence for the mineral deposits created by long-term interaction with water and rock has been limited.
CRISM's visible and infrared spectrometers will track regions on the dusty martian surface and map them at scales as small as 18 meters (60 feet) across, from an altitude of 300 kilometers (186 miles). CRISM will read the hundreds of "colors" in reflected sunlight to detect patterns that indicate certain minerals on the surface, including the signature traces of past water.
The principal investigator (lead scientist) for CRISM is Scott Murchie from the Applied Physics Lab at Johns Hopkins University.
Visit the instrument site: