A Caltech Library Service

Overview of the Microscopic Imager Investigation during Spirit’s first 450 sols in Gusev crater

Herkenhoff, Ken E. and Ehlmann, Bethany L. (2006) Overview of the Microscopic Imager Investigation during Spirit’s first 450 sols in Gusev crater. Journal of Geophysical Research E, 111 (E2). Art. No. E02S04. ISSN 0148-0227.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


The Microscopic Imager (MI) on the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit has returned images of Mars with higher resolution than any previous camera system, allowing detailed petrographic and sedimentological studies of the rocks and soils at the Gusev landing site. Designed to simulate a geologist's hand lens, the MI is mounted on Spirit's instrument arm and can resolve objects 0.1 mm in size or larger. This paper provides an overview of MI operations, data calibration, processing, and analysis of MI data returned during the first 450 sols (Mars days) of the Spirit landed mission. The primary goal of this paper is to facilitate further analyses of MI data by summarizing the methods used to acquire and process the data, the radiometric and geometric accuracy of MI data products, and the availability of archival products. In addition, scientific results of the MI investigation are summarized. MI observations show that poorly sorted soils are common in Gusev crater, although aeolian bedforms have well-sorted coarse sand grains on their surfaces. Abraded surfaces of plains rocks show igneous textures, light-toned veins or fracture-filling minerals, and discrete coatings. The rocks in the Columbia Hills have a wide variety of granular textures, consistent with volcaniclastic or impact origins. Case hardening and submillimeter veins observed in the rocks as well as soil crusts and cemented clods imply episodic subsurface aqueous fluid movement, which has altered multiple geologic units in the Columbia Hills. The MI also monitored Spirit's solar panels and the magnets on the rover's deck.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription DOIArticle
Herkenhoff, Ken E.0000-0002-3153-6663
Ehlmann, Bethany L.0000-0002-2745-3240
Additional Information:© 2006 by the American Geophysical Union. Received 30 August 2005; revised 21 October 2005; accepted 3 November 2005; published 16 February 2006. We thank the MER rover planners for their outstanding support of Spirit IDD operations: Brian K. Cooper, Jeff Biesiadecki, Frank Hartman, Scott Maxwell, John Wright, Jeng Yen, Chris Leger, Robert Bonitz, Eric Baumgartner, Khaled Ali, Ashitey Trebi-Ollennu, and Mark Maimone. We also thank the NASA Ames support team: Matthew Deans, Laurence Edwards, Joel Hagen, Clayton Kunz, David Lees, Randy Sargent, Michael Wagner, and Anne Wright. Software tools developed at Cornell University by the Pancam team continue to be very useful in tracking and managing MI data products; we thank Elaina McCartney for her repeated assistance in operations planning. The MIPL MER team quickly generated many MI mosaics: Doug Alexander, Amy Chen, Oleg Pariser, Bob Deen, Jeff Hall, Mike Cayanan, Vadim Klochko, Elmain Martinez, and Charles Thompson. We also appreciate the support received from the MER team at the USGS in Flagstaff: Jeff Anderson, Tammy Becker, Devon Burr, Chris Isbell, Brian Lipkowitz, Dave MacKinnon, Janet Richie, Jac Shinaman, and Deborah Soltesz. Boris Semenov of JPL’s Navigation and Ancillary Information Facility supported MI geometric processing by providing SPICE kernels in a timely fashion. Reviews by Bill Farrand, Aileen Yingst, Paul Geissler, and Laz Keszthelyi improved the quality of the manuscript and are much appreciated. This work was performed for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The use of trade, product, or firm names in this paper does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Issue or Number:E2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20121012-102650784
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Herkenhoff, K. E., et al. (2006), Overview of the Microscopic Imager Investigation during Spirit’s first 450 sols in Gusev crater, J. Geophys. Res., 111, E02S04, doi:10.1029/2005JE002574
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:34869
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:12 Oct 2012 18:30
Last Modified:06 Nov 2020 17:02

Repository Staff Only: item control page