The Mastcam-Z Radiometric Calibration Targets on NASA's Perseverance Rover: Derived Irradiance Time-Series, Dust Deposition, and Performance Over the First 350 Sols on Mars

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Marco Merusi
  • Kinch, Kjartan Münster
  • Madsen, Morten Bo
  • James F. Bell III
  • Justin N. Maki
  • Alexander G. Hayes
  • Jonathan Joseph
  • Jeffrey R. Johnson
  • Melissa Rice
  • Edward A. Cloutis
  • Dan Applin
  • Mark T. Lemmon
  • Alicia F. Vaughan
  • Jorge I. Núñez
  • Elsa Jensen
  • Jessica Zimmer Kristensen
  • Kristen Paris
  • Ernest Cisneros
  • Megan R. Kennedy
  • Olivier Gasnault
The Mastcam-Z radiometric calibration targets mounted on the NASA's Perseverance rover proved to be effective in the calibration of Mastcam-Z images to reflectance (I/F) over the first 350 sols on Mars. Mastcam-Z imaged the calibration targets regularly to perform reflectance calibration on multispectral image sets of targets on the Martian surface. For each calibration target image, mean radiance values were extracted for 41 distinct regions of the targets, including patches of color and grayscale materials. Eight strong permanent magnets, placed under the primary target, attracted magnetic dust and repelled it from central surfaces, allowing the extraction of radiance values from eight regions relatively clean from dust. These radiances were combined with reflectances obtained from laboratory measurements, a one-term linear fit model was applied, and the slopes of the fits were retrieved as estimates of the solar irradiance and used to convert Mastcam-Z images from radiance to reflectance. Derived irradiance time series are smoothly varying in line with expectations based on the changing Mars-Sun distance, being only perturbed by a few significant dust events. The deposition of dust on the calibration targets was largely concentrated on the magnets, ensuring a minimal influence of dust on the calibration process. The fraction of sunlight directly hitting the calibration targets was negatively correlated with the atmospheric optical depth, as expected. Further investigation will aim at explaining the origin of a small offset observed in the fit model employed for calibration, and the causes of a yellowing effect affecting one of the calibration targets materials.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2022EA002552
JournalEarth and Space Science
Issue number12
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2022

ID: 329576430