Volume 637, May 2020
|Number of page(s)||8|
|Section||Planets and planetary systems|
|Published online||19 May 2020|
Quantitative assessment of water content and mineral abundances at Gale crater on Mars with orbital observations
State Key Laboratory of Space Weather, National Space Science Center, Chinese Academy of Sciences,
2 Center for Excellence in Comparative Planetology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hefei, PR China
3 University of Glasgow, Scotland, UK
4 University of Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing 100049, PR China
Accepted: 10 April 2020
Context. The information of water content can help to improve atmospheric and climate models, and thus provide a better understanding of the past and present role of water and aqueous alteration on Mars. Mineral abundances can provide unique constraints on their formation environments and thus also on the geological and climate evolution of Mars.
Aims. In this study, we used a state-of-the-art approach to derive the hydration state and mineral abundances over Gale crater on Mars, analysing hyperspectral visible/near-infrared data from the Observatoire pour la Minéralogie, l’Eau, les Glaces et l’Activité (OMEGA) instrument onboard Mars Express and from the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) instrument onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Methods. The Discrete Ordinate Transfer model was used to perform atmospheric and thermal correction of the OMEGA and CRISM hyperspectral data in order to derive the surface single scattering albedos (SSAs) at Gale crater, Mars. Water content was estimated using a linear relationship between the derived effective single-particle absorption thickness at 2.9 μm from SSAs and the water weight percentage. Mineral abundances were retrieved by performing the linear spectral unmixing of SSAs from CRISM data. The results were compared with the ground-truth results returned from Curiosity rover.
Results. The water content for most areas at Gale crater derived using the OMEGA data is around 2–3 water weight percent (water wt % hereafter), which is in agreement with that derived from the in situ measurements by Curiosity’s Sample Analysis at Mars instrument. However, the sensitivity tests show that uncertainties exist due to the combination of several factors including modelling bias, instrumental issue, and different sensing techniques. The derived mineral abundances using the orbital data are not fully consistent with that derived by Curiosity, and the discrepancy may be due to a combination of dust cover, texture, and particle size effects, as well as the effectiveness of the quantitative model.
Conclusions. The ground-truth data from Curiosity provide a critical calibration point for the quantitative method used in the orbital remote-sensing observations. Our analysis indicates that the method presented here has great potential for mapping the water content and mineral abundances on Mars, but caution must be taken when using these abundance results for geological interpretations.
Key words: publications, bibliography / radiative transfer / planets and satellites: surfaces / infrared: planetary systems / techniques: spectroscopic / methods: data analysis
© ESO 2020
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