In order to search for and characterize a wide range of rocks and soils that hold clues to past water activity on Mars, NASA launched two rovers towards Mars in the Mars Exploration Rover Mission in 2003. The rovers named Opportunity and Spirit landed on Mars in 2004 and have been performing the geological exploration since then. Up to the present, many close-range images were taken by various camera systems installed onboard the rovers and were archived in NASA's Planetary Data System. Moreover, for recording and displaying positions of the rovers, traverse maps are updated nearly daily on MER mission's official website. As these data are all available to public domain, there will be additional benefits if the archived image data and the traverse map can be demonstrated and accessed in an integrated environment. To achieve this, a 3D virtual reality environment is constructed. In which the digital terrain model produced from stereo images acquired by High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) instrument onboard Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is employed as the 3D terrain base. Daily positions of the rovers are then located in the HiRISE DTM and the 3D traverse map is obtained subsequently. In this paper, the area covering the traverse route of Spirit is taken as an example to demonstrate the 3D traverse mapping in the public-accessible virtual reality environment. In further research, the exterior orientation recorded in the archived images are extracted and connected to the corresponding rovers' locations in the system. As a result, the archived image data and the traverse map can be demonstrated in an integrated environment. The developed system is expected to facilitate MER data demonstration and accessibility for users who are of interests.
32nd Asian Conference on Remote Sensing 2011, ACRS 2011