Event Title

Collecting Spectra from Gale Crater on Mars

Co-Author(s)

Katelyn Frizzle

Research Mentor(s)

Melissa Rice

Description

Over 2000 sols on Mars have passed since the Mars Science Laboratory’s Curiosity rover landed in Gale Crater, near the Martian equator. Starting on sol 13 Curiosity began taking multispectral images of its journey up Aeolis Mons, a 5.5 km-high mountain in the center of the crater, using its stereoscopic, multispectral Mastcam instrument. Mastcam consists of two camera “eyes,” each of which has eight filter options that allow different wavelengths of light to pass through. The shortest wavelength filter is near 440 nm, at the blue end of the visible spectrum. The longest wavelength is near 1010 nm, past the visible within the near-infrared spectrum. Mars' iron-rich composition is more colorful in longer wavelengths, so this range gives Mastcam the ability to see the absorptions from these iron-rich minerals. To date, over 400 multispectral observations from Mastcam have been acquired; however, no systematic spectral analysis of these observations has yet been completed. The objective of our work is to create a comprehensive database of representative spectra from the geologic compositions represented in each image set. Our methods include analyzing each Mastcam observation using an IDL graphical user interface. We first made false color images in green, red, and near-infrared bands to enhance the compositional diversity of each eye. Then, using selected bands, we applied a decorrelation stretch to each eye to maximize color separation. Using both these image products, we selected compositionally similar regions from which to collect representative spectra. The database is currently up-to-date, and documentation has been created to train new undergraduate researchers to add new spectra from the ongoing Mastcam investigation. We plan to use this database in future studies of Gale Crater’s geologic history as we search for evidence of mineral alteration and clues of past water presence and life on Mars.

Document Type

Event

Start Date

16-5-2018 9:00 AM

End Date

16-5-2018 12:00 PM

Department

Geology

Rights

Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this document for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author’s written permission.

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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May 16th, 9:00 AM May 16th, 12:00 PM

Collecting Spectra from Gale Crater on Mars

Over 2000 sols on Mars have passed since the Mars Science Laboratory’s Curiosity rover landed in Gale Crater, near the Martian equator. Starting on sol 13 Curiosity began taking multispectral images of its journey up Aeolis Mons, a 5.5 km-high mountain in the center of the crater, using its stereoscopic, multispectral Mastcam instrument. Mastcam consists of two camera “eyes,” each of which has eight filter options that allow different wavelengths of light to pass through. The shortest wavelength filter is near 440 nm, at the blue end of the visible spectrum. The longest wavelength is near 1010 nm, past the visible within the near-infrared spectrum. Mars' iron-rich composition is more colorful in longer wavelengths, so this range gives Mastcam the ability to see the absorptions from these iron-rich minerals. To date, over 400 multispectral observations from Mastcam have been acquired; however, no systematic spectral analysis of these observations has yet been completed. The objective of our work is to create a comprehensive database of representative spectra from the geologic compositions represented in each image set. Our methods include analyzing each Mastcam observation using an IDL graphical user interface. We first made false color images in green, red, and near-infrared bands to enhance the compositional diversity of each eye. Then, using selected bands, we applied a decorrelation stretch to each eye to maximize color separation. Using both these image products, we selected compositionally similar regions from which to collect representative spectra. The database is currently up-to-date, and documentation has been created to train new undergraduate researchers to add new spectra from the ongoing Mastcam investigation. We plan to use this database in future studies of Gale Crater’s geologic history as we search for evidence of mineral alteration and clues of past water presence and life on Mars.