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Multiscale and multispectral characterization of mineralogy with the ExoMars 2020 rover remote sensing payload

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In 2020, the European Space Agency and Roscosmos will launch the ExoMars rover, with the scientific objective to detect evidence of life within the martian surface via the deployment of a 2 meter drill. The ExoMars Pasteur payload contains several imaging and spectroscopic instruments key to this objective: the Panoramic Camera (PanCam), Infrared Spectrometer for ExoMars (ISEM), and Close‐UP Imager (CLUPI). These instruments are able to collect data at a variety of spatial (sub‐mm to decimeter) and spectral (3.3 to 120 nm) resolutions across the 440 to 3300 nm wavelength range and collectively will form a picture of the geological and morphological characteristics of the surface terrain surrounding the rover. We deployed emulators of this instrument suite at terrestrial analog sites that formed in a range of aqueous environments to test their ability to detect and characterize science targets. We find that the emulator suite is able to effectively detect, characterize, and refine the compositions of multiple targets at working distances spanning from 2‐18 m. We report on: (i) the detection of hydrothermal alteration minerals including Fe‐smectites and gypsum from basaltic substrates, (ii) the detection of late‐stage diagenetic gypsum veins embedded in exposures of sedimentary mudstone, (iii) multispectral evidence of compositional differences detected from fossiliferous mudstones, and (iv) approaches to cross‐referencing multi‐scale and multi‐resolution data. These findings aid in the development of data products and analysis toolkits in advance of the ExoMars rover mission.


Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2019EA000692
Number of pages18
JournalEarth and Space Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2020

    Research areas

  • Remote sensing, ExoMars, Mineralogy, XRD, Spectroscopy, Mars

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