Visible and Near Infrared imaging spectroscopy and the exploration of small scale hydrothermally altered and hydrated environments on Earth and Mars

Harris, Jennifer Kate (2016) Visible and Near Infrared imaging spectroscopy and the exploration of small scale hydrothermally altered and hydrated environments on Earth and Mars. Doctoral thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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Abstract

The use of Visible and Near Infrared (VNIR) imaging spectroscopy is a cornerstone of planetary exploration. This work shall present an investigation into the limitations of scale, both spectral and spatial, in the utility of VNIR images for identifying small scale hydrothermal and potential hydrated environments on Mars, and regions of the Earth that can serve as martian analogues. Such settings represent possible habitable environments; important locations for astrobiological research. The ESA/Roscosmos ExoMars rover PanCam captures spectrally coarse but spatially high resolution VNIR images. This instrument is still in development and the first field trial of an emulator fitted with the final set of geological filters is presented here. Efficient image analysis techniques are explored and the ability to accurately characterise a hydrothermally altered region using PanCam data products is established. The CRISM orbital instrument has been returning hyperspectral VNIR images with an 18 m2 pixel resolution since 2006. The extraction of sub-pixel information from CRISM pixels using Spectral Mixture Analysis (SMA) algorithms is explored. Using synthetic datasets a full SMA pipeline consisting of publically available Matlab algorithms and optimised for investigation of mineralogically complex hydrothermal suites is developed for the first time. This is validated using data from Námafjall in Iceland, the region used to field trial the PanCam prototype. The pipeline is applied to CRISM images covering four regions on Mars identified as having potentially undergone hydrothermal alteration in their past. A second novel use of SMA to extract a unique spectral signature for the potentially hydrated Recurring Slope Lineae features on Mars is presented. The specific methodology presented shows promise and future improvements are suggested. The importance of combining different scales of data and recognising their limitations is discussed based on the results presented and ways in which to take the results presented in this thesis forward are given.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
School/Department: School of Science > Earth & Planetary Sciences
Depositing User: ORBIT Editor
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2017 13:21
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2017 13:21
URI: http://bbktheses.da.ulcc.ac.uk/id/eprint/292

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