Mars Odyssey skips first course correction
(CNN) -- A spacecraft heading to Mars will skip its first planned flight path adjustment because of the accuracy of its launch trajectory, NASA said.
The 2001 Mars Odyssey, which blasted off from Earth on April 7, was the first NASA probe launched to Mars since two were lost in 1999.
The orbiter will search the red planet for signs of water and measure its radiation levels, observations that could offer valuable insights into past extraterrestrial life and future human colonization.
Managers of the $300 million mission might perform a mid-course flight adjustment in late May. In the meantime, they will focus on testing instruments aboard Odyssey.
Later this month, flight engineers will command the probe to turn on its thermal infrared imaging system, which should capture infrared and visible pictures of the Earth.
As of Thursday, Odyssey was about 925,000 miles (1,500,000 km) from Earth and traveling at a speed of 7,455 mph (12,000 km/h), relative to Earth.
It should reach Mars orbit in October, after a journey of 286 million miles (460 million km).
NASA says Mars mission off to a good start
2001 Mars Odyssey
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