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Proceedings Paper

Remote and in situ detection of environmental and biological signatures: ground-truthing hyperspectral imaging for planetary exploration
Author(s): Michael C. Storrie-Lombardi M.D.; Adrian J. Brown; Malcolm R. Walter
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Paper Abstract

Proposed geochemical histories for the evolution of Mars offer the possibility that the planet may have experienced conditions remarkably similar to those faced by life on Earth during Archean and Proterozoic eons. For almost two billion years microbial mat communities dominated by photosynthetic cyanobacteria were the dominant life forms on Earth. Descendents of these complex communities and the fossil remnants of their ancestors can be found today in Northwestern Australia. These sites offer a unique testing ground for developing integrated remote and in situ methods for identifying sites of geobiological interest during exploration of Mars, the Jovian or Saturnian satellites, or neighboring extra-solar planetary systems. We are currently performing remote and in situ analyses of spectral and image data from the Trendall locality of NW Australia, an area rich in geobiological targets including hydrothermally altered basalts, fossil stromatolites and pillow basalts. We discuss the early results of employing cluster analysis, Bayesian probabilistic estimators, and complexity analysis techniques to analyze remote and in situ photographic and spectral data. The techniques presented offer a systematic methodology for both the remote selection of landing sites most likely to contain targets of geobiological interest and the in situ identification of aqueous or biologically altered samples.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 November 2004
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 5555, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology VIII, (1 November 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.563607
Show Author Affiliations
Michael C. Storrie-Lombardi M.D., Kinohi Institute (United States)
Adrian J. Brown, Macquarie Univ. (Australia)
Malcolm R. Walter, Macquarie Univ. (Australia)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5555:
Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology VIII
Richard B. Hoover; Gilbert V. Levin; Alexei Y. Rozanov, Editor(s)

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