Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter MARCI and CTX Team Co-I Activities

Project: Research project

Project Details


Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter MARCI and CTX Team Co-I Activities Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter MARCI and CTX Team Co-I Activities Dr. James Sell will lead Ihe MARCI/CTX Team effort in surface mineralogic analysis. He is Ihe leam member designated to participate in Project activities related to compositional and mineralogy sciences. He will participate in all team activities and will carry out additional duties as agreed upon with the Principal Investigator. Dr. Sell will specifically provide guidance for the design team in the development and analysis of in-flight calibration image acquisitions, the operation and refinement of the MARCI and CTX data reduction, calibration, and archiving pipeline, and in using planning and analysis tools for surface image acquisition and the mapping of regional compositional/mineralogic variations, including collaboration with members of the CRISM and HiRISE experiment teams. He will also lead the initial scientific analysis efforts regarding the composition and mineralogy of the Martian surface and how they can constrain both past and present climatic conditions and climate variations on Mars. During operations, Dr. Sell will work with MARC I team members in observational planning and algorithm development for determination of surface composition and mineralogy. Examples include the selection of specific surface regions for high-resolution CRISM observations, the choice of which filters to downlink for each wide-angle MARCI color observation sequence, developing and processing the WA images through a data reduction pipeline that also includes absolute radiometric calibration, and assisting the PI and the MSSS staff in the creation of quadrangle-by-quadrangle color mosaics from pushbroom-scanned MARCI color strip images. Dr. Sell will focus on the compositional/mineralogic interpretation of the resulting quadrangle mosaics, and lead the publication of a peer-reviewed research paper on the results. Dr. Sell's scientific activities will center on analysis of the regional geology, mineralogy, and composition of the Martian surface at the highest spatial resolutions to be obtained by MARCI (- 40 m/pix) and CTX (-6 m/pix). This includes the use of CTX regional mosaics for focused remote sensing studies of specific regions (like the candidate Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) landing sites), and the use of MARCI data to study bright ferric-bearing surface soil and dust units and dark ferrous-bearing sand and bedrock units. Among his investigations will be: (1) Regional mapping of surface regions that show MARCI spectral signatures consistent with the presence of well-crystalline ferric oxide and oxyhydroxide minerals like hematite or goethite; (2) Regional mapping of surface regions that show MARCI spectral signatures consistent with unaltered or pristine iron-bearing silicates like pyroxene and olivine. This class of minerals, which could be detected indirectly by MARC I and which have either been identified or inferred on Mars based on previous and current ground based and spacecraft studies, provide data on the composition of primary Martian magmatic materials and thus of the state of the Martian interior; and (3) CTX-based remote sensing studies (incorporating HiRISE, THEM IS, OMEGA, and CRISM data sets) of the geology, stratigraphy, and mineralogy of the Gale crater and Eberswalde crater regions that have been studied as potential landing site for MSL. Special focus will be placed on continuing studies of the Gale crater field site and possible traverse paths, as Gale has been selected as the actual MSL landing site.
Effective start/end date1/1/119/30/16


  • INDUSTRY: Domestic Company: $90,219.00


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