Last week was the third landing site selection workshop for MSL, the Mars Science Laboratory. The workshop has been well covered in other blogs. If you’re unfamiliar with the seven sites up for consideration, the Martian Chronicles has posted excellent summaries of each site, starting with Miyamoto Crater and working through Gale Crater.
Most of the presentations from the workshop have also been posted here. It’s rare to see one without some HiRISE images!
Here at HiRISE, we are interested in this for several reasons – not only are some of our team members involved in the site selection, but HiRISE data have been integral to the process. HiRISE images have been used to study the small-scale geology of the sites, which is very powerful when combined with CRISM and other data sets to determine composition and mineralogy. HiRISE data has also provided calculations of the slopes and rock abundances around the landing sites, both of which are critical for the safety of the lander. We’ve been doing reconnaissance (the R in MRO!) of all of these sites since we started our primary mission! Here are some of the data we’ve produced for the MSL project.
- Lots of images! (links to a search for ‘MSL’ in our catalog; you can also search for the individual site names)
- Anaglyphs (red-blue 3-d of stereo pairs – these are so fun! )
- Digital Elevation Models (DEMs), which are painstakingly built from our stereo paired images. (This site doesn’t have any MSL DEMs posted yet, but they should be coming soon!)
I know people here have their favorites among these seven sites – what’s yours?