Mars Image Processing

Parallel Algorithms for Near-Realtime Visualization

The FIDO Mars Exploration Rover (MER) relies on detailed panoramic views in its operation for several tasks:

  • Determination of exact location
  • Navigation
  • Science target identification
  • Mapping

Mars rover cameras gather many individual images with a resolution of 480x640 that are stitched together in a larger mosaic. Before the images can be stitched together they may have to be warped into the reference frame of the final mosaic, since the orientation and the individual images change from one to the next and since the final mosaic might be assembled in different views.

The algorithm is such that for every pixel in the desired final mosaic a good corresponding point must be found in one or more of the original small images. This process depends strongly on a good camera model. The pixel correlation between the left eye and right eye stereo image enables the determination of the position in three dimensions (x,y,z).