Surface albedo observations at Gusev Crater and Meridiani Planum, Mars

James F. Bell, M. S. Rice, J. R. Johnson, T. M. Hare

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


During the Mars Exploration Rover mission, the Pancam instrument has periodically acquired large-scale panoramic images with its broadband (739±338 nm) filter in order to estimate the Lambert bolometric albedo of the surface along each rover's traverse. In this work we present the full suite of such estimated albedo values measured to date by the Spirit and Opportunity rovers along their traverses in Gusev Crater and Meridiani Planum, respectively. We include estimated bolometric albedo values of individual surface features (e.g., outcrops, dusty plains, aeolian bed forms, wheel tracks, light-toned soils, and crater walls) as well as overall surface averages of the 43 total panoramic albedo data sets acquired to date. We also present comparisons to estimated Lambert albedo values taken from the Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) along the rovers' traverses, and to the large-scale bolometric albedos of the sites from the Viking Orbiter Infrared Thermal Mapper (IRTM) and Mars Global Surveyor/Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES). The ranges of Pancam-derived albedos at Gusev Crater (0.14 to 0.25) and in Meridiani Planum. (0.10 to 0.18) are in good agreement with IRTM, TES, and MOC orbital measurements. These data sets will be a useful tool and benchmark for future investigations of albodo variations with time, including measurements from orbital instruments like the Context Camera and High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Long-term, accurate albedo measurements could also be important for future efforts in climate modeling as well as for studies of active surface processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberE06S18
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Planets
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 20 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Oceanography


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