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Applicant -- Examining the volcanic geomorphology of Mars, aided by precision topography of Earth analogs

Friday, June 22, 2018

High resolution image data from spacecraft are providing an unprecedented view of volcanic areas on Mars, which have a wide range of lava flow morphologies, including large flooded plains, channelized flows, inflated plateaus and lava tube systems. One hypothesis for the Medusae Fossae formation is volcanic, but this extensive deposit of material and others have debated or unknown origins. As first a postdoc, and then a staff scientist at LPL, I've been collecting high spatial resolution image and topographic data of terrestrial analogs in order to compare these types of surfaces between Earth and Mars. In combination with control networks established in the field using differential global position system, small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) and kites provide an ideal low altitude camera platform to produce remote sensing image data products and topographic surveys. Topography is generated using multiview stereophotogrammetry, enabled by the use of framing cameras. The data resolution bridges the gap between traditional satellite/aerial remote sensing and boots-on-the-ground field observations. This presentation will provide an overview of the methods, and showcase several recent terrestrial project examples that relate to observations and geological mapping of Mars. These results have interesting implications for the future direction of planetary exploration, especially considering possible sUAS missions on both Mars and Titan.

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