Curiosity applies coloration abilities to ‘Vera Rubin Ridge’

Jim Sharkey

November third, 2017

This pair of photos from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA’s Curiosity rover illustrates how particular filters are used to scout terrain forward for variations within the native bedrock. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/ASU

The color-discerning skills of NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover have confirmed notably helpful because the rover continues its climb up “Vera Rubin Ridge.” In addition to the hundreds of full-color photos that Curiosity takes yearly, the rover can picture the Martian floor utilizing particular filters that may badist in figuring out some minerals – one thing it has used to scout the terrain it’s going to quickly cowl.

Curiosity additionally has a spectrometer that kinds gentle into hundreds of wavelengths, enabling the one ton robotic to “see” past visible-light colours into infrared and ultraviolet. The rover group makes use of these observations in figuring out the place to drive and what goal rocks to research.

One methodology for discerning colours makes use of Curiosity’s Mast Camera (MastCam). Each of the 2 digicam methods that make up MastCam, one telephoto and one wider angle, has a number of science filters that may be modified from one picture to the subsequent to measure how brightly a rock displays sure colours of sunshine. Some of the filters are for diagnostic wavelengths that particular minerals soak up, moderately than mirror. Hematite, an iron oxide mineral that’s of specific curiosity because the rover research Vera Rubin Ridge, is detectable through the use of MastCam’s science filters.

“We’re in an space the place this functionality of Curiosity has an opportunity to shine,” stated Abigail Fraeman of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, who leads planning for the mission’s investigation of Vera Rubin Ridge.

The Curiosity group had deliberate to go to Vera Rubin Ridge even earlier than the rover landed on Mars 5 years in the past (Curiosity touched down on the Martian floor in August of 2012). Hematite had been detected within the ridge by the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). Because most hematite varieties within the presence of water, the ridge could present clues about moist environments in Mar’s historical previous.

Curiosity’s ChemCam will also be used to discern colours within the Martian panorama. Although finest know for zapping rocks with a laser to establish chemical components inside them, the instrument may also study targets with out firing the laser. It can do that by measuring daylight mirrored by the rocks in hundreds of wavelengths. Patterns on this spectral knowledge can be utilized to establish hematite and different minerals.

“The colours of the rocks on the ridge are extra attention-grabbing and extra variable than what we noticed earlier in Curiosity’s traverse,” stated science group member Jeffrey Johnson of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland. He makes use of each Mastcam and ChemCam knowledge for badyzing rocks.

The rocks discovered at this a part of Mars comprise small grains of hematite which soak up some wavelengths of inexperienced gentle. This provides the hematite a purplish tint, as a result of extra purple and blue gentle is mirrored than inexperienced wavelengths. The hematite seems much more clearly when utilizing the color-discerning capabilities of Mastcam and ChemCam.

“We’re using these multi-spectral and hyper-spectral capabilities for examining rocks right in front of the rover and also for reconnaissance — looking ahead to help with choosing where to drive for closer inspection,” Johnson stated.

About two weeks in the past, Curiosity made an unplanned cease because of communication difficulties, inadequate arm heating and a digicam glitch. During the cease, Curiosity positioned its drill on the bottom for a check and dropped off a pattern of “Ogunquit Beach” sand to the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite for evaluation. The Curiosity group deliberate to resume driving this week with a drive of about 25 meters (roughly 27 yards) scheduled for Thursday.

This false-color image demonstrates how use of special filters available on the Mast Camera (Mastcam) of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover can reveal the presence of certain minerals in target rocks. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

This false-color picture demonstrates how use of particular filters obtainable on the Mast Camera (Mastcam) of NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover can reveal the presence of sure minerals in goal rocks. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

 

 

Tagged: Curiosity Mars Science Laboratory NASA The Range

Jim Sharkey

Jim Sharkey is a lab badistant, author and basic science fanatic who grew up in Enid, Oklahoma, the hometown of Skylab and Shuttle astronaut Owen Okay. Garriott. As a younger Star Trek fan he participated within the letter-writing marketing campaign which resulted within the area shuttle prototype being named Enterprise.

While his tutorial research have ranged from psychology and archaeology to biology, he has by no means misplaced his ardour for area exploration. Jim started running a blog about science, science fiction and futurism in 2004.

Jim resides within the San Francisco Bay space and has attended NASA Socials for the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover touchdown and the NASA LADEE lunar orbiter launch.


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