ExoMars mission releases new images and DTMs from Mars

On 14 March 2019, the ExoMars CaSSIS (Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System) team released new images from Mars. The camera system was developed at the University of Bern by an international team led by  Prof. Nicolas Thomas  and,since April 2018, it delivers high-resolution color images and digital terrain models of Mars. The images were produced by teams from the University of Bern, University of Arizona and the Observatory of Padova of the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF). These high-resolution images shows peculiar features of the surface of Mars, even in 3D, and highlight the mineralogic variety of the surface (click on the images to find more specific informations).

Dust Devils
Dust Devils
Banded terrain
Banded terrain
Salty sulphates
Salty sulphates
South Polar layered terrains
South Polar layered terrains
Minerals on crater floor
Minerals on crater floor
Well preserved crater
Well preserved crater
Minerals, minerals and more minerals!
Minerals, minerals and more minerals!
Layers in 3D!
Layers in 3D!
Dunes in 3D!
Dunes in 3D!
Neighbourhood of Jezero crater in 3D!
Neighbourhood of Jezero crater in 3D!
Brain terrain in 3D!
Brain terrain in 3D!
Rocky islands in 3D!
Rocky islands in 3D!

 

Besides high-resolution color images of the surface of Mars, the CaSSIS camera offers the possibility to acquire the so called stereo-pairs (i.e images of the same place taken with particular viewing conditions), which are essential to the generation of digital terrain models (DTMs). The latter are of pivotal importance for the quantitative analysis and interpretation of CaSSIS images.

The Digital Terrain Models have been generated through a stereo photogrammetric process implemented in the 3DPD software developed by the INAF-Padova. The DTMs have been created starting from the CaSSIS stereo pairs obtained from a mosaicking procedure able to combine the thirty framelets that typically define the stereo acquisition. The images and the derived 3D models have a pixel scale of 4.6 m that permits an high resolution feature analysis.

Two examples of such datasets are provided here:

DTM obtained on the eastern side of the caldera of the Ascraeus Mons, a 480 km wide shield volcano belonging to the Tharsis Montes. This is the second highest peak on Mars, with a summit elevation of 18.1 km. Such volcano was built by several thousand basaltic lava flows. With the exception of it huge size, it is similar to terrestrial shield volcanoes like those forming the Hawaiian island.

 

The north-western flanks of the Olympus Mons, the largest (600 km wide) and tallest (25 km) shield volcano on Mars. Such volcano formed during the Hesperian period, and it is located between the Tharsis and the Amazonis quadrangle, off the northwestern edge of the Tharsis bulge. The DTM is located in the volcano’s outer edge where an escarpment/cliff of about 8 km tall is present.