2001 Mars Odyssey was called the spacecraft that orbits Mars. Lockheed Martin was contracted by NASA for this project with a cost of 297 million USD for the whole mission. The spacecraft is supposed to look for evidence of volcanic activity and water from past or present, by using electronic imagers and spectrometers. The missionâ€™s purpose is to find possible evidence to prove the existence or non existence of life on Mars. The name of the mission is inspired by the famous movie by Stanley Kubrick: 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Odyssey spacecraft was launched in April 2001 from Cape Canaveral and six months later it reached the orbit of planet Mars. For the spacecraft to enter the Martian orbit, it had to have its main engine fired so that the speed could be broke. The technique that it was used is called â€œaerobrakingâ€ and it brings the spacecraft closer to the Planet orbit by orbit, gradually. The mapping mission of Odyssey started in February 2002.