October 14, 2014

Analysis of OMEGA/Mars Express data hyperspectral data using a Multiple-Endmember Linear Spectral Unmixing Model (MELSUM): Methodology and first results

Combe J.-Ph., Le Mouelic S., Sotin C., Gendrin A., Mustard J.F., Le Deit L., Launeau P., Bibring J.-P., Gondet B., Langevin Y., Pinet P.
Planetary and Space Science

Summary: The mineralogical composition of the Martian surface is investigated by a Multiple-Endmember Linear Spectral Unmixing Model (MELSUM) of the Observatoire pour la Minéralogie, l'Eau, les Glaces et l'Activité (OMEGA) imaging spectrometer onboard Mars Express. OMEGA has fully covered the surface of the red planet at medium to low resolution (2-4 km per pixel). Several areas have been imaged at a resolution up to 300 m per pixel. One difficulty in the data processing is to extract the mineralogical composition, since rocks are mixtures of several components. MELSUM is an algorithm that selects the best linear combination of spectra among the families of minerals available in a reference library. The best fit of the observed spectrum on each pixel is calculated by the same unmixing equation used in the classical Spectral Mixture Analysis (SMA). This study shows the importance of the choice of the input library, which contains in our case 24 laboratory spectra (endmembers) of minerals that cover the diversity of the mineral families that may be found on the Martian surface. The analysis is restricted to the 1.0-2.5 µm wavelength range. Grain size variations and atmospheric scattering by aerosols induce changes in overall albedo level and continuum slopes. Synthetic flat and pure slope spectra have therefore been included in the input mineral spectral endmembers library in order to take these effects into account. The selection process for the endmembers is a systematic exploration of whole set of combinations of four components plus the straight line spectra. When negative coefficients occur, the results are discarded. This strategy is successfully tested on the terrestrial Cuprite site (Nevada, USA), for which extensive ground observations exist. It is then applied to different areas on Mars including Syrtis Major, Aram Chaos and Olympia Undae near the North Polar Cap. MELSUM on Syrtis Major reveals a region dominated by mafic minerals, with the oldest crustal regions composed of a mixing between low-calcium pyroxenes (LCPs) (orthopyroxenes (OPx)) and high-calcium pyroxenes (HCPs) (clinopyroxenes (CPx)). The Syrtis volcanic edifice appears depleted in LCP (OPx) and enriched in HCP (CPx), which is consistent with materials produced with a lower partial fusion degree at an age younger to the surrounding crust. Strong olivine signatures are found between the two calderas Nili Patera and Meroe Patera and in Nili Fossae. A strong signature of iron oxides is found within Aram Chaos, with a spatial distribution also consistent with thermal emission spectrometer (TES). Gypsum is unambiguously detected in the northern polar region, in agreement with the study of Langevin et al. [2005. Sulfates in the north polar region of Mars detected by OMEGA/Mars Express. Science 307(5715), 1584-1586]. Our results show that the linear spectral unmixing provides good first order results in a variety of mineralogical contexts, and can therefore confidently be used on a wider scale to analyze the complete archive of OMEGA data. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.