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Infrared Thermal Mapper (IRTM)

NSSDCA ID: 1975-075A-02

Mission Name: Viking 1 Orbiter
Principal Investigator:Dr. Hugh H. Kieffer


The purpose of the IRTM experiment was to measure the temperatures of the atmosphere and areas on the surface of Mars. The amount of sunlight reflected by the planet was also measured. The IRTM was a multichannel radiometer mounted on the orbiter's scan platform. Four small telescopes, each with seven infrared detectors, were aimed parallel to the visual imaging optical axis, and made observations every 1.12 s. The instrument was capable of measuring differences of 1 C throughout a temperature range of -130 deg C to +57 deg C. The field of view was circular, 5 milliradians in diameter. Operation of this experiment was terminated on August 7, 1980.

Alternate Names

  • IRTM
  • Infrared Radiometer
  • Viking1Orbiter/IRTM
  • urn:nasa:pds:context:instrument:irtm.vo1

Funding Agency

  • NASA-Office of Space Science (United States)


  • Planetary Science: Atmospheres
  • Planetary Science: Geology and Geophysics

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this experiment can be directed to: Dr. David R. Williams



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Dr. Hugh H. KiefferTeam LeaderUS Geological
Dr. Guido MunchTeam MemberMax-Planck-Institut fur Astronomie
Dr. Gerry NeugebauerTeam MemberCalifornia Institute of
Mr. Stillman C. Chase, Jr.Team MemberSanta Barbara Research Center
Dr. Ellis D. MinerTeam MemberNASA Jet Propulsion
Mr. Frank D. PalluconiTeam MemberNASA Jet Propulsion

Selected References

  • Kieffer, H. H., et al., Infrared thermal mapping experiment - The Viking Mars Orbiter, Icarus, 16, No. 1 47-56, doi:10.1016/0019-1035(72)90136-4, Feb. 1972.
  • Kieffer, H. H., et al., Infrared thermal mapping of the Martian surface and atmosphere - first results, Science, 193, 780-786, doi:10.1126/science.193.4255.780, Aug. 1976.
  • Kieffer, H. H., Soil and surface temperatures at the Viking landing sites, Science, 194, No. 4271, 1344-1346, doi:10.1126/science.194.4271.1344, Dec. 1976.
  • Kieffer, H. H., et al., Temperatures of the Martian surface and atmosphere: Viking observation of diurnal and geometric variations, Science, 194, No. 4271, 1346-1351, doi:10.1126/science.194.4271.1346, Dec. 1976.
  • Kieffer, H. H., et al., Thermal and albedo mapping of Mars during the Viking primary mission, J. Geophys. Res., 82, No. 28, 4249-4291, doi:10.1029/JS082i028p04249, Sept. 1977.
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