New stacking technique and matching method allow us to see Mars’ surface with astonishing clarity

A team of British scientists used an innovative image stacking technique and matching technique to reveal the amazing detail. We can now see where Beagle 2 is located in the new collection of photos. This British spacecraft was part of the European Space Agency’s Mars Express mission that launched in 2003.. University College London (UCL), England, claims that their images contain the Beagle 2, Home Plate rocks and NASA’s MER–A rover tracks. The resolution was improved by five factors. Jan-Peter Muller, from UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory (citation below), and his colleagues stated in the journal Planetary and Space Science that their images are up to five times more detailed than any other image. Scientists can create images with unprecedented detail thanks to a Super-Resolution Restoration technique that combines stacking and matching. Image: This revolutionary technique known as SRR (Super Resolution Restoration) has been recently used to pinpoint specific Mars targets. This technique can be used to find other artifacts such as landings and also for locating safe landing spots for future missions. Researchers will be able to discover a lot more territory than possible using a single Rover. Sharper objects Prof. Muller stated that it is possible to see more of Mars’ surface with drone eye vision provided there are sufficient repeat photos. This allows us to view objects with sharper focus in orbit than ever before. The picture quality is similar to landers. “We will be seeing more evidence of this kind that we only have seen on the successful three rover missions so far. This is a major breakthrough and marks the beginning of a new era of planetary exploration. Image. Even the most advanced telescopes can only observe a small amount of the surface of Mars or other planets. According to the authors, this is because of limitations on mass such as telescopic optics and communication bandwidth that are required to send higher resolution images back from Earth. Also, interference by planets’ atmospheres. Limitation in resolution from 25cm up to 5cm. For cameras orbiting Mars or Earth, the current limit in resolution is 25cm (10inches. SRR permits objects to be stacked and matched from multiple angles by stacking images. 96 inches can be seen using the same 25cm telescope. These images of the Red Planet can be taken over 10 years, even though the planet’s surface is subject to changes that take decades or millions of years. However, the resolution of the images can still be very high. Images for every stack must be taken within seconds due to the planet’s atmosphere. The 25 cm hiRISE image to the left shows the differences in how the ridges, shadows and rocks are defined. Image: The UCL scientists used SRR to stack four to eight 25cm photos of Mars’ surface, taken with the NASA HiRISE camera. This allowed them to attain the target resolution of five centimetres. This includes some of HiRISE’s most recent images of the Beagle 2, landing area, which were graciously provided by John Bridges from the University of Leicester. The paper’s lead author, Yu Tao (a UCL Research Associate), said that “Using new machine vision techniques, information can be extracted from low-resolution images to determine the most accurate true scene.” The technique can greatly improve our understanding of the planet’s surface using multiple remote-sensible images. We will soon be able recreate rover scale images on Mars’ surface and other planets using repeat image stacks.” Prof. Mark Sims, a University of Leicester colleague, provided compelling evidence to support the claim that the location of the lander is here. Professor Jan-Peter Muller (left), and Mr. Yu Tao. They plan to use the technique in other areas of Mars’ surface to find more. The authors stated that they plan to explore other areas of Mars’ surface using the technique. Planetary and Space Science, Volume 121, February 2016, Pages 103-114 DOI: 10.1016/j.pss.2015.11. 010.


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