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The 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft and the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) have been acquiring infrared images of Mars for more than 16 years. The best-quality images from the mission have been compiled into a global mosaic at 100 m/pixel resolution and printed on a walkable basketball-court-sized vinyl mat to spread awareness and excitement about Mars exploration!

Homepage Background Image: Full-disk image of Mars with the Tharis volcanoes in the west and Valles Marineris in the east from the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) Mars Color Camera (MCC). Image courtesy of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), the Indian Space Science Data Center (ISSDC) and Emily Lakdawalla.

Garden Lakes Elementary School

Thanks to JPL Solar System Ambassador Dr. Baron Summers and Garden Lakes teacher Teri Villa, we were invited to bring the map to Garden Lakes Elementary School in Avondale, AZ on February 25th, 2019. The school's 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grade students had the opportunity to take a tour of Mars and learn about the history of robotic surface exploration. Because so many of the teachers were interested in bringing their classes, this was our first attempt at having two classes on the map at a time. One group was led by Dr. Summers and the other by Mr. Hill, and then both classes participated in a joint version of the Landing Site Scavenger Hunt. This approach worked amazingly well, particularly because the teachers reviewed the "Introduction to Mars" presentation with students before they came, which allowed us to spend less time explaining the basics of the Mars and more time exploring it as part of the scavenger hunt. Because of the two-class approach, this ended up being our second-largest event to date!