Summary

The iMars project focuses on developing tools and value-added datasets to massively increase the exploitation of space-based data from NASA and ESA Mars mission imaging and 3D data beyond the PI teams. iMars is adding value by creating more complete and fused 3D models of the surface from combined stereo and laser altimetry and using these 3D models to create a set of co-registered imaging data through time, permitting a much more comprehensive interpretation of the Martian surface to be made.

Emphasis is placed on the co-registration of multiple datasets from different space agencies and orbiting platforms around Mars and their synergistic use to discover what surface changes have occurred since NASA's Viking Orbiter spacecraft first went into orbit around mars in the mid-1970s.

iMars brings together the best expertise in Europe for the processing of Martian orbital data within a single environment for handling, visualising and interpreting these data. The ESA Mars Express High Resolution Camera (HRSC) will provide the base data, where possible.

The iMars base data can be used by the ESA ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter 2016 and subsequent ESA missions to provide the necessary inputs for selection of a future landing site for the ESA ExoMars 2018 rover and for any Mars Sample Return missions in the 2020s.

It will greatly extend the use of the archived data by providing mapped and co-registered images.

The resultant time-stamped imagery will be interfaced to automated data mining analysis software based on techniques developed for Earth and video surveillance. We will also build on the huge momentum developed in the Zooniverse system by building a "MarsZoo" project for mass public participation in the feature mapping of Mars. Cooperation with US colleagues and with European scientists will take place through a series of workshops as well as the exploitation of the 3D datasets in visualisation engines such as Google Mars in future.

The iMars datasets and tools will allow the creation of new communities of geoscientists.

iMars will also allow much greater public participation in data analysis so stimulating a much greater interest in space-based data.

Watch this space!

Prof. Jan-Peter Muller

Coordinator, iMars

Head of Imaging, UCL-MSSL