The BepiColombo space mission is one of the European Space Agency’s cornerstone projects; it is planned for launch in 2013 to studythe planet Mercury. One of the imaging instruments of BepiColombo is a STereo Camera (STC), whose main scientific objective is the global stereo mapping of the entire surface of Mercury. STC will permit the generation of a Digital Terrain Model (DTM) of Mercury’s surface, improving the interpretation of morphological features at different scales and clarifying the stratigraphic relationships between different geological units. To evaluate the effectiveness of the STC-derived DTM for geological purposes, a series of simulations has been performed to find out to what extent the errors expected in the DTM may prevent the correct classification and interpretation of geological features. To meet this objective, Earth analogues (a crater, a lava cone and an endogenous dome) of likely components of the Hermean surface, small enough to be near the detection limit of the STC, were selected and a photorealistic three-dimensional (3D) model of each feature was generated using Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) stereo images. Stereoscopic pairs of synthetic images of each feature were then generated from the 3D model at different locations along the BepiColombo orbit. For each stereo pair, the corresponding Hermean DTM was computed using image correlation and compared to the reference data to assess the loss of detail and interpretability. Results show that interpretation and quantitative analysis of simple craters morphologies and small volcanic features should be possible all along the periherm orbit arc. At the apoherm only the larger features can be unequivocally distinguished, but they will be reconstructed to a poor approximation.
Simulations using terrestrial geological analogues to assessinterpretability of potential geological features of the Hermean surfacerestituted by the Stereo imaging Camera of the SIMBIOSYS package(BepiColombo mission) / MASSIRONI M; FORLANI G; CREMONESE G; CAPRIA M.T; DA DEPPO V; GIACOMINI L; NALETTO G; PASQUARÉ G; RONCELLA R.; FLAMINI E. - In: PLANETARY AND SPACE SCIENCE. - ISSN 0032-0633. - 56:8(2008), pp. 1079-1092. [10.1016/j.pss.2008.02.005]
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