Spectrophotometric properties of materials observed by Pancam on the Mars Exploration Rovers: 3. Sols 500-1525

Jeffrey R. Johnson, William M. Grundy, Mark T. Lemmon, James Bell, R. G. Deen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The Panoramic Camera (Pancam) on the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity acquired visible/near-infrared (432-1009. nm) multispectral observations of soils and rocks under varying viewing and illumination geometries. Data retrieved from these images were modeled using radiative transfer theory to study the microphysical and surface scattering nature of materials at both sites. Nearly 57,000 individual measurements from 1900 images were collected of rock and soil units identified by their color and morphologic properties over a wide range of phase angles (0-150°). Images were acquired between Sols 500 and 1525 in the Columbia Hills and regions around Home Plate in Gusev Crater and in the plains and craters between Erebus and Victoria Craters in Meridiani Planum. Corrections for diffuse skylight incorporated sky models based on observations of atmospheric opacity throughout the mission. Disparity maps created from Pancam stereo images allowed estimates of local facet orientations. For Spirit, soils at lower elevations near Home Plate were modeled with lower single scattering albedo (w) values than those on the summit of Husband Hill, but otherwise soils exhibited similar scattering properties to previous Gusev soils. Dark ripple sands at the El Dorado dunes were among the most forward-scattering materials modeled. Silica-rich soils and nodules near Home Plate were analyzed for the first time, and exhibited increased forward scattering behavior with increasing wavelength, consistent with microporosity inferred from previous high resolution images and thermal infrared spectroscopy. For Opportunity, the opposition effect width parameter for sandstone outcrop rocks was modeled for the first time, and demonstrated average values consistent with surfaces of intermediate porosity and/or grain size distribution between those modeled for spherule-rich soils and darker, clast-poor soils. Soils outside a wind streak emanating from the northern rim of Victoria Crater exhibited w values ~16% higher than soils inside the streak. Overall, w values and scattering properties for outcrop rocks, spherule-rich soils, and rover tracks were similar to previous Meridiani Planum analyses, emphasizing the homogeneity of these materials across nearly 12. km of rover odometry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-71
Number of pages47
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015


  • Mars
  • Mars, surface
  • Spectrophotometry
  • Spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Spectrophotometric properties of materials observed by Pancam on the Mars Exploration Rovers: 3. Sols 500-1525'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this