Coupling Mars ground and orbital views: generate viewsheds of Mastcam images from the Curiosity rover,  using ArcGIS® and public datasets.

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. The published version of this Preprint is available: This is version 3 of this Preprint.


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Marion Nachon, Schuyler Borges, Ryan Ewing, Frances Rivera-Hernández, Nathan Stein, Jason Van Beek


The Mastcam (Mast Camera) instrument onboard the NASA Curiosity rover provides an exclusive view of Mars: the color high-resolution Mastcam images allow users to study Gale crater’s geological terrains and landscapes along the rover path. This view from the ground complements the spatially broader view provided by spacecrafts from orbit. However, for a given Mastcam image, it can be challenging to locate on the orbital view the corresponding terrains. No method for collocating Mastcam onto orbital images had been made publicly available. The procedure presented here allows users to generate Mastcam viewsheds, using the ArcGIS® software and its built-in Viewshed tool as wells as Mars datasets exclusively public. This procedure locates onto Mars orbital view the terrains that are observed in a given Mastcam image. Because this procedure uses public datasets, it is applicable to the Mastcam images already available online and to the upcoming ones, as collected along Curiosity rover’s path. In addition, this procedure constitutes material for a pedagogic GIS project in Geosciences or Planetary Sciences, to handle Mars datasets both orbital and from the Curiosity rover.



Other Planetary Sciences, Physical Sciences and Mathematics, Planetary Geology, Planetary Sciences


GIS, Mars, Curiosity, Mastcam, Planetary Sciences, Rover


Published: 2020-04-29 19:47

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GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) 2.1

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