Mars-rover cameras evaluation of laboratory spectra of Fe-bearing Mars analog samples

1Javier Cuadros,2Joseph R.Michalski,3Janice L.Bishop,1Christian Mavris,4Saverio Fiore,5Vesselin Dekov
Icarus (in Press) Link to Article [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2021.114704]
1Department of Earth Sciences, Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, UK
2Department of Earth Sciences & Laboratory for Space Research, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
3SETI Institute, Mountain View, CA 94043, USA
4Institute of Methodologies for Environmental Analysis, CNR, Department of Geoenvironmental and Earth Sciences, University of Bari, Via Orabona 4, 70125 Bari, Italy
5Department of Marine Resources and Energy, Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, 4-5-7 Konan, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-8477, Japan
Copyright Elsevier

The cameras on the Pathfinder probe (Imager for Pathfinder) and the rovers Spirit and Opportunity (Panoramic Camera), Curiosity (Mast Camera) and Perseverance (Mast Camera-Z) produce visible-range spectra of limited wavelength resolution but of great target resolution which allows mineralogical analysis of selected areas within martian rocks. Laboratory spectra of relevant specimens were transformed into the spectra corresponding to each of the above cameras to increase our capability to interpret martian spectral data collected in-situ. The focus was on finding spectral features that can be detected by the cameras on Mars and are diagnostic of specific minerals. The samples are a collection of (1) Fe/Mg-phyllosilicates from submarine hydrothermal sites and (2) of rocks from acid alteration environments containing goethite, hematite, jarosite and Fe-bearing chlorite as these minerals are detectable in the extended visible range. Among all the samples, interstratified glauconite-nontronite has the most unique spectral features and should be easily detectable with the rover cameras. The spectral features of talc from Fe-bearing interstratified specimens are described. These data are especially relevant as glauconite and talc have been proposed to be fairly abundant on Mars and their detections are suggested from remote-sensing near-IR data. Several indices are proposed to assess Fe content on the investigated samples as well as mineral concentration of goethite and hematite. Among these indices, the normalized spectral slope in the range 420–600 nm increases with total Fe content for all samples, whether phyllosilicates, oxides or sulphates (R2 = 0.7–0.8). For pure phyllosilicates, the slope from 600 to 1010 nm decreases with increasing octahedral Fe (R2 = 0.75). An index for goethite produced excellent results assessing goethite concentration (R2 = 0.84). Of all cameras, Mast Camera reproduces the spectra with lowest fidelity and generates the poorest correlations between indices and tested variables. The other three cameras perform similarly.

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