Possible Mars landing sites’ pictures released in colour

November 14th, 2007 - 2:04 am ICT by admin  
The pictures are deemed valuable for researchers studying possible landing sites for NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory, a mission to deploy a long-distance rover carrying a deck of sophisticated science instruments on Mars in 2010.

The powerful HiRISE camera has taken more than 3,500 huge, sharp images released in black-and-white since it began science operations in November 2006.

The camera carries 10 red-filter detectors, two blue-green filter detectors and 10 infrared detectors that record different colours.

According to a University statement, HiRISE is also releasing a colour movie, scrolling over one potential Mars Science Laboratory landing site in Nili Fossae, at 21 degrees north latitude and 74 degrees east latitude.

The animation shows a range of enhanced colours that correspond to what Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s imaging spectrometer, called CRISM, has determined to be hydrated clay minerals and unaltered volcanic rocks.

“The clay minerals are especially promising in the search for ancient life on Mars,” said UA Professor Alfred S. McEwen, HiRISE principal investigator.

Prof. McEwen said, beginning this week, images will be released in colour as well as black-and-white on the HiRISE Website. The colour images are available online at the HiRISE Website, http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu and are available through the Planetary Data System, NASA’s space mission data archive.

A link to the movie at has been provided at the website http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/media/clips/PSP_003086_2015_short.mov.

He said the colours are false colour though, not the way Mars looks to the human eyes.

The images are also processed to maximize colour differences, a technique useful for analyzing landscapes, he said.

“Colour data are proving very useful in interpreting geologic processes and history on Mars. The images we’re releasing today include views of some of the most exciting and compositionally diverse areas on the planet. They are really interesting,” said Prof. McEwen.

As part of the research, the UA team also developed computer software that automatically processed images from the different colour filters into colour images.

“The technical hurdle has been that the sets of different colour detectors are staggered within the camera focal plane array, and the spacecraft isn’t perfectly steady as it operates in space,” HiRISE operations manager Eric Eliason said. (ANI)

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