The imaging performance of the SRC on Mars Express

J. Oberst, G. Schwarz, T. Behnke, H. Hoffmann, K. D. Matz, J. Flohrer, H. Hirsch, T. Roatsch, F. Scholten, E. Hauber, B. Brinkmann, R. Jaumann, David Williams, R. Kirk, T. Duxbury, C. Leu, G. Neukum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The Mars Express spacecraft carries the pushbroom scanner high-resolution stereo camera (HRSC) and its added imaging subsystem super resolution channel (SRC). The SRC is equipped with its own optical system and a 1024×1024 framing sensor. SRC produces snapshots with 2.3 m ground pixel size from the nominal spacecraft pericenter height of 250 km, which are typically embedded in the central part of the large HRSC scenes. The salient features of the SRC are its light-weight optics, a reliable CCD detector, and high-speed read-out electronics. The quality and effective visibility of details in the SRC images unfortunately falls short of what has been expected. In cases where thermal balance cannot be reached, artifacts, such as blurring and "ghost features" are observed in the images. In addition, images show large numbers of blemish pixels and are plagued by electronic noise. As a consequence, we have developed various image improving algorithms, which are discussed in this paper. While results are encouraging, further studies of image restoration by dedicated processing appear worthwhile. The SRC has obtained more than 6940 images at the time of writing (1 September 2007), which often show fascinating details in surface morphology. SRC images are highly useful for a variety of applications in planetary geology, for studies of the Mars atmosphere, and for astrometric observations of the Martian satellites. This paper will give a full account of the design philosophy, technical concept, calibration, operation, integration with HRSC, and performance, as well as science accomplishments of the SRC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)473-491
Number of pages19
JournalPlanetary and Space Science
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Mar 2008


  • Cameras
  • Instruments
  • Mars
  • Mars Express

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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