Glossray Timeline Contact FAQ
Kids Educators Mars Facts The Mission Gallery News Home


Apogee - The point in a satellite's orbit that is most distant from a planet.

APXS - Alpha-Particle-X-Ray Spectrometer

ARES - Advanced Rover Engineering and Science Tool. The software scientists and engineers will use to "drive" the rovers.

ATLO - Assembly, Test and Launch Operations

Breadboard - The preliminary assembly of an instrument or system. The process continues with brassboard prototype, engineering model, and then flight model.

CCD - charge coupled device. A type of solid-state detector used in cameras.

CCT - Compositional Calibration Target.

CDR - Critical Design Review

Co-I - Co-Investigator

Delta II - Launch vehicle that will be used for the MER Project.

DSN - Deep Space Network

DTE - Direct to Earth communication between rovers and earth without orbiter relay.

ECR - Engineering Change Request

EDL - Entry, Descent and Landing

EM - Engineering Model. Precursor to flight model.

ESA - European Space Agency

Fairing - A shell located at the top of a launch vehicle that contains the payload or spacecraft.

FIDO - Field Integrated Design and Operations

FM - Flight Model

Gravity Assist - The maneuver a spacecraft uses to increase velocity without using fuel. It flies by a planet and uses the influence of that planet's gravity to get a slingshot-type burst of speed.

GRS - Gamma Ray Spectrometer. Science instrument on Mars Odyssey Orbiter.

Hematite - A type of iron oxide mineral that usually, but not always, forms in association with liquid water.

HGA - High Gain Antenna

Hydrothermal - "Hydro" for water and "thermal" for heat. Hydrothermal systems on Earth support life today. A hydrothermal deposit could contain signs of ancient microbial life.

IDD - Instrument Deployment Device (the arm of the rover).

IPS - Instrument Positioning System.

KSC - Kennedy Space Center

LGA - Low Gain Antenna

MER - Mars Exploration Rover

MGS - Mars Global Surveyor

MI - Microscopic Imager

Mini-TES - Miniature-Thermal Emission Spectrometer

MOC - Mars Orbital Camera

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Olivine - A shiny, green mineral found in many igneous rocks that have a high iron and magnesium content. In the presence of liquid water, olivine often alters to form other minerals (such as goethite, maghemite and hematite)

ORT - Operational Readiness Test

Pancam - Panoramic camera.

PDR - Preliminary Design Review

Perigee - The point in a satellite's orbit that is closest to a planet.

PI - Principal investigator

RAT - Rock Abrasion Tool

Regolith - the "soil" that covers the solid rock on a planet's surface.

S/C - spacecraft

Sol - One Martian Day (24.6 earth hours)

UHF - Ultra High Frequency

THEMIS - Thermal Emission Imaging System. Science payload on Odyssey Orbiter to examine the geology of Mars.

WITS - Web Interface for Telescience. A web-based commanding tool for FIDO field tests.