Background lines in the Mars Odyssey 2001 gamma-ray detector

Larry G. Evans, William V. Boynton, Robert C. Reedy, Richard D. Starr, Jacob I. Trombka

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The Mars Odyssey spacecraft was launched on 7 April 2001 and went into orbit around Mars on 24 October 2001. One of the primary scientific instruments carried on the spacecraft is a germanium gamma-ray spectrometer that will measure the elemental composition of Mars. Cruise measurements taken during July and August 2001 are used to characterize the energy resolution of the detector and to measure and identify the background gamma rays. These gamma rays originate in the detector, in material surrounding the detector, and from the spacecraft. More than 110 gamma rays were observed in the background spectrum. The sources of most of these gamma rays were tentatively identified. Understanding the sources of the background gamma rays is important for the future when using the orbital data to determine the composition of Mars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-44
Number of pages14
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - Jan 10 2003
Externally publishedYes
EventX-Ray and Gamma-Ray Detectors and Applications IV 2002 - Seattle, United States
Duration: Jul 7 2002Jul 11 2002


  • Background gamma rays
  • Germanium gamma-ray spectrometer
  • Mars
  • Mars Odyssey
  • Radiation damage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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