October 14, 2014

Investigation of the Mars Express HRSC color channel calibration

Combe and McCord
Advances in Space Research

Summary: The High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) onboard the Mars Express spacecraft in orbit about Mars has four detector channels dedicated to produce images in four spectral channels. Utilizing these spectrophotometric data requires understanding the instrument radiometric calibration and other photometric properties of the data. We present here some results of our investigation into the HRSC color data characteristics. This covers comparison of HRSC measurements with those of telescopes and the Observatoire pour la Minéralogie, l'Eau, les Glaces et l'Activité (OMEGA) instrument, also on Mars Express. We also investigate the dependence of HRSC Color measurements on solar phase angle and altitude of the Mars surface. These results confirm and extend our earlier findings [McCord, T.B., Adams, J.B., Bellucci, G., Combe, J.-Ph., Hansen, G., Hoffman, H., Jaumann, R., Lumme, K., Neukum, G., Pinet, P., Poulet, F., the HRSC Co-I Team, The Mars Express high Resolution Stereo Camera spectrophotometric data: characteristics and science analysis. J. Geophys. Res. 112, E6, 2007.]. A basic finding from our study is that there are nearly constant offsets between the I/F value derived from the HRSC data and those determined from OMEGA and groundbased telescope measurements, especially in the HRSC red bandpass. These offsets are nearly independent of solar phase angle and Mars surface altitude but are considerably larger for the one comparison at Phobos we were able to make. Several hypotheses could explain these effects: atmospheric scattering, surface photometric effects, shift of the spatial registration or calibration. All these possibilities were investigated.