R. Barnes ,  S. Gupta ,  C. Traxler ,  T. Ortner ,  A. Bauer ,  G. Hesina ,  G. Paar ,  B. Huber ,  K. Juhart ,  L. Fritz ,  B. Nauschnegg ,  J. Muller ,  Y. Tao (2018)

Geological analysis of Martian rover-derived Digital Outcrop Models using the 3D visualisation tool, Planetary Robotics 3D Viewer – PRo3D.

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Earth and Space Science


Abstract Panoramic camera systems on robots exploring the surface of Mars are used to collect images of terrain and rock outcrops which they encounter along their traverse. Image mosaics from these cameras are essential in mapping the surface geology and selecting locations for analysis by other instruments on the rover's payload. 2D images do not truly portray the depth of field of features within an image, nor their 3D geometry. This paper describes a new 3D visualization software tool for geological analysis of Martian rover-derived Digital Outcrop Models (DOMs) created using photogrammetric processing of stereo-images using the Planetary Robotics Vision Processing (ProViP) tool developed for 3D vision processing of ExoMars PanCam and Mars 2020 Mastcam-Z data. DOMs are rendered in real time in the Planetary Robotics 3D Viewer PRo3D, allowing scientists to roam outcrops as in a terrestrial field campaign. Digitisation of point, line and polyline features is used for measuring the physical dimensions of geological features, and communicating interpretations. Dip and strike of bedding and fractures is measured by digitising a polyline along the contact or fracture trace, through which a best fit plane is plotted. The attitude of this plane is calculated in the software. Here, we apply these tools to analysis of sedimentary rock outcrops and quantification of the geometry of fracture systems encountered by the science teams of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity and Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity. We show the benefits PRo3D allows for visualisation and collection of geological interpretations and analyses from rover-derived stereo-images.