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Coupling Mars Ground and Orbital Views: Generate Viewsheds of Mastcam Images From the Curiosity Rover, Using ArcGIS® and Public Datasets

Nachon, M. and Borges, S. and Ewing, R. C. and Rivera-Hernández, F. and Stein, N and Van Beek, J. K. (2020) Coupling Mars Ground and Orbital Views: Generate Viewsheds of Mastcam Images From the Curiosity Rover, Using ArcGIS® and Public Datasets. Earth and Space Science, 7 (9). Art. No. e2020EA001247. ISSN 2333-5084. doi:10.1029/2020ea001247.

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The Mastcam (Mast Camera) instrument onboard the NASA Curiosity rover provides an exclusive view of Mars: High‐resolution color images from Mastcam allow users to study Gale crater's geologic terrains along Curiosity's path. These ground observations complement the spatially broader views of Gale crater provided by spacecrafts from orbit. However, for a given Mastcam image, it can be challenging to locate the corresponding terrains on the orbital view. No method for locating Mastcam images onto orbital images had been made publicly available. The procedure presented here allows users to generate Mastcam image viewsheds, using ArcGIS® software, its built‐in Viewshed tool®, and public Mars datasets. This procedure locates onto Mars orbital view the terrains that are observed in a given Mastcam image. Because this procedure uses public datasets, it is applicable to available Mastcam images and to the future ones that will be acquired along the Curiosity rover's path. This procedure can be used by the public to assess scientific questions regarding Martian surface processes and geologic history. In addition, this procedure can be utilized as pedagogic GIS material by the Geosciences or Planetary Sciences communities, for enhancing students' skillsets in GIS and provide students with experience working with datasets from both orbiter and rover Mars missions.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Nachon, M.0000-0003-0417-7076
Borges, S.0000-0002-4565-6463
Ewing, R. C.0000-0001-6337-610X
Rivera-Hernández, F.0000-0003-1401-2259
Stein, N0000-0003-3385-9957
Additional Information:© 2020 The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Issue Online: 18 September 2020; Version of Record online: 18 September 2020; Accepted manuscript online: 10 August 2020; Manuscript accepted: 18 July 2020; Manuscript revised: 06 July 2020; Manuscript received: 28 April 2020. We are grateful to the MSL engineers and scientists, in particular the Mastcam Team, and to the PDS teams, thanks to whom such awesome Mars datasets are acquired and made available. We thank Dr. Fred J. Calef III and an anonymous reviewer for their thorough reviews and thoughtful comments that improved this manuscript. The open access publishing fees for this article have been covered by the Texas A&M University Open Access to Knowledge Fund (OAKFund), supported by the University Libraries. Data Availability Statement: The data used in this work are publicly available: Sources are compiled in Table 1.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Texas A&M UniversityUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Mars orbital and in‐situ images; GIS; Curiosity rover Mastcam images
Issue or Number:9
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200818-123638376
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Official Citation:Nachon, M., Borges, S., Ewing, R. C., Rivera‐Hernández, F., Stein, N., & Van Beek, J. K. (2020). Coupling Mars ground and orbital views: Generate viewsheds of Mastcam images from the curiosity rover, using ArcGIS® and public datasets. Earth and Space Science, 7, e2020EA001247.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:105000
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:18 Aug 2020 21:32
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 18:38

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