PRo3D®: A tool for geological analysis of Martian rover-derived digital outcrop models

Publication from Digital

Robert Barnes, Sanjeev Gupta, Christoph Traxler, Gerd Hesina, Thomas Ortner, Gerhard Paar, Benjamin Huber

, 9/2016


The key focus on the robotic exploration of Mars for evidence of ancient life is the quantitative characterization of sedimentary rock outcrops that (a) might hold evidence for biosignatures, and (b) provide palaeoenvironmental context to drive the exploration for rocks that have potential to contain biosignatures. Clues to determine ancient sedimentary environments are preserved in sedimentary rock layer geometries, sedimentary structures and textures, and grain size distributions. Rovers are a proxy for field geologists on Mars, taking highresolution imagery of rock formations and landscapes which is digitally analysed in detail on Earth. Panoramic digital cameras (MastCam and Pancam) are used for characterising the geology of rock outcrops along rover traverses. The panoramic camera systems take stereo images which are co-registered to create 3D point clouds of rock outcrops to be quantitatively analysed much like geologists would do on Earth.