Status Report

NASA Mars Odyssey THEMIS Image: Mars in True Color (almost)

By SpaceRef Editor
November 14, 2003
Filed under , , ,

Medium image for 20031114a

Image Context:

Context image for 20031114a
Context image credit: NASA/Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) Team
[ Find on map: Javascript version ]

[ Find on map: CGI version ]

This spectacular view of the sunlit cliffs and basaltic sand dunes in
southern Melas Chasma shows Mars in a way rarely seen: in full,
realistic color. The colorization is the result of a collaboration
between THEMIS team members at Cornell University and space artist Don
Davis, who is an expert on true-color renderings of planetary and
astronomical objects. Davis began with calibrated and co-registered
THEMIS VIS multi-band radiance files produced by the Cornell group.
Using as a guide true-color imaging from the Hubble Space Telescope and
his own personal experience at Mt. Wilson and other observatories, he
performed a manual color balance to match more closely the colors of
previous visual Mars observations. He also did some manual smoothing and
other image processing to mimimize the effects of residual scattered light
in the images. The result is a view of Mars that invites comparisons
to Earth; a scene that one might observe out the window on a flight
over the southwest United States, but not quite. The basaltic dunes are
commonplace on Mars but a rare feature on Earth. The rounded knobs and
elongated mesas on the canyon floor show an erosional style as exotic as
Utah’s Bryce Canyon but wholly familiar on Mars. Although the
inhospitable Martian atmosphere cannot be seen, the magnificent Martian
landscape on display in this image beckons space-suited human explorers
and the sightseers who will follow.

Initial image processing and calibration by THEMIS team members J. Bell,
T. McConnochie, and D. Savransky at Cornell University; additional
processing and final color balance by space artist Don Davis.

[Source: ASU THEMIS Science Team]

Note: this THEMIS visual image has not been radiometrically nor geometrically calibrated for this preliminary release. An empirical correction has been performed to remove instrumental effects. A linear shift has been applied in the cross-track and down-track direction to approximate spacecraft and planetary motion. Fully calibrated and geometrically projected images will be released through the Planetary Data System in accordance with Project policies at a later time.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission for NASA’s Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) was developed by Arizona State University, Tempe, in collaboration with Raytheon Santa Barbara Remote Sensing. The THEMIS investigation is led by Dr. Philip Christensen at Arizona State University. Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, is the prime contractor for the Odyssey project, and developed and built the orbiter. Mission operations are conducted jointly from Lockheed Martin and from JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Arizona State University/Cornell/Don Davis

[ Show Full-Size Image (GIF) ] [ Show Full-Size Image (JPG) ]
[ Show Full-Size Image (PNG) ] [ Show Full-Size Image (TIF) ]
[ Printer-friendly version ]

ParameterValue ParameterValue
Latitude-12.7 &nbsp InstrumentVIS
Longitude288.6E (71.4W) &nbsp Resolution (m)19
Image Size (pixels)2342×1278 &nbsp Image Size (km)44.5×24.3

SpaceRef staff editor.