Localization and physical properties experiments conducted by Spirit at Gusev Crater.

Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA.
Science (Impact Factor: 31.2). 09/2004; 305(5685):821-4. DOI: 10.1126/science.1099922
Source: DLR

ABSTRACT The precise location and relative elevation of Spirit during its traverses from the Columbia Memorial station to Bonneville crater were determined with bundle-adjusted retrievals from rover wheel turns, suspension and tilt angles, and overlapping images. Physical properties experiments show a decrease of 0.2% per Mars solar day in solar cell output resulting from deposition of airborne dust, cohesive soil-like deposits in plains and hollows, bright and dark rock coatings, and relatively weak volcanic rocks of basaltic composition. Volcanic, impact, aeolian, and water-related processes produced the encountered landforms and materials.

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    ABSTRACT: Comprehensive analyses of remote sensing data during the three-year effort to select the Mars Exploration Rover landing sites at Gusev crater and at Meridiani Planum correctly predicted the atmospheric density profile during entry and descent and the safe and trafficable surfaces explored by the two rovers. The Gusev crater site was correctly predicted to be a low-relief surface that was less rocky than the Viking landing sites but comparably dusty. A dark, low-albedo, flat plain composed of basaltic sand and haematite with very few rocks was expected and found at Meridiani Planum. These results argue that future efforts to select safe landing sites based on existing and acquired remote sensing data will be successful. In contrast, geological interpretations of the sites based on remote sensing data were less certain and less successful, which emphasizes the inherent ambiguities in understanding surface geology from remotely sensed data and the uncertainty in predicting exactly what materials will be available for study at a landing site.
    Nature 08/2005; 436(7047):44-8. · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Mars Exploration Rover (MER) landing sites in Gusev crater and Meridiani Planum were selected because they appeared acceptably safe for MER landing and roving and had strong indicators of liquid water. The engineering constraints critical for safe landing were addressed via comprehensive evaluation of surface and atmospheric characteristics from existing and targeted remote sensing data and models that resulted in a number of predictions of the surface characteristics of the sites, which are tested more fully herein than a preliminary assessment. Relating remote sensing signatures to surface characteristics at landing sites allows these sites to be used as ground truth for the orbital data and is essential for selecting and validating landing sites for future missions.
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    ABSTRACT: This paper presents a comprehensive analysis of the topographic mapping capabilities of images from the Mars Exploration Rover 2003 (MER) mission. The D measurement accuracies of Pancam (panoramic camera) and Navcam (navigation camera) stereo pairs are estimated using basic photogrammetric principles. The mapping capabilities of single-site panoramas, multi-site panoramas, and wide-baseline stereo images are analyzed based on the bundle adjustment technology. This analysis provides an overview of understanding the attainable geometric accuracies from the images and for best usage of the resultant mapping products during and after the MER mission.

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Jun 5, 2014

Robert Anderson