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Comparing orbiter and rover image-based mapping of an ancient sedimentary environment, Aeolis Palus, Gale crater, Mars

Stack, K. M. and Edwards, C. S. and Grotzinger, J. P. and Gupta, S. and Sumner, D. Y. and Calef, F. J., III and Edgar, L. A. and Edgett, K. S. and Fraeman, A. A. and Jacob, S. R. and Le Deit, L. and Lewis, K. W. and Rice, M. S. and Rubin, D. and Williams, R. M. E. and Williford, K. H. (2016) Comparing orbiter and rover image-based mapping of an ancient sedimentary environment, Aeolis Palus, Gale crater, Mars. Icarus, 280 . pp. 3-21. ISSN 0019-1035. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2016.02.024.

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This study provides the first systematic comparison of orbital facies maps with detailed ground-based geology observations from the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover to examine the validity of geologic interpretations derived from orbital image data. Orbital facies maps were constructed for the Darwin, Cooperstown, and Kimberley waypoints visited by the Curiosity rover using High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) images. These maps, which represent the most detailed orbital analysis of these areas to date, were compared with rover image-based geologic maps and stratigraphic columns derived from Curiosity's Mast Camera (Mastcam) and Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI). Results show that bedrock outcrops can generally be distinguished from unconsolidated surficial deposits in high-resolution orbital images and that orbital facies mapping can be used to recognize geologic contacts between well-exposed bedrock units. However, process-based interpretations derived from orbital image mapping are difficult to infer without known regional context or observable paleogeomorphic indicators, and layer-cake models of stratigraphy derived from orbital maps oversimplify depositional relationships as revealed from a rover perspective. This study also shows that fine-scale orbital image-based mapping of current and future Mars landing sites is essential for optimizing the efficiency and science return of rover surface operations.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Stack, K. M.0000-0003-3444-6695
Grotzinger, J. P.0000-0001-9324-1257
Sumner, D. Y.0000-0002-7343-2061
Edgar, L. A.0000-0001-7512-7813
Edgett, K. S.0000-0001-7197-5751
Fraeman, A. A.0000-0003-4017-5158
Le Deit, L.0000-0003-1361-5170
Lewis, K. W.0000-0003-3412-803X
Rice, M. S.0000-0002-8370-4139
Williams, R. M. E.0000-0003-1571-6952
Williford, K. H.0000-0003-0633-408X
Additional Information:© 2016 Elsevier Inc. Received 23 June 2015; Revised 4 February 2016; Accepted 17 February 2016; Available online 27 February 2016. This research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Thanks to Mike Malin for providing the processed Mastcam mosaics used in this study. The authors would like to acknowledge the scientists and engineers of the MSL and MRO HiRISE missions, without whom the data and analysis presented in this paper would not have been possible. We also thank Brad Thomson and an anonymous reviewer for providing helpful feedback that improved this manuscript.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:Mars; Mars, surface; Geological processes
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20161027-075818863
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Official Citation:K.M. Stack, C.S. Edwards, J.P. Grotzinger, S. Gupta, D.Y. Sumner, F.J. Calef III, L.A. Edgar, K.S. Edgett, A.A. Fraeman, S.R. Jacob, L. Le Deit, K.W. Lewis, M.S. Rice, D. Rubin, R.M.E. Williams, K.H. Williford, Comparing orbiter and rover image-based mapping of an ancient sedimentary environment, Aeolis Palus, Gale crater, Mars, Icarus, Volume 280, December 2016, Pages 3-21, ISSN 0019-1035, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:71528
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:27 Oct 2016 16:04
Last Modified:11 Nov 2021 04:46

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