LPSC Posters, and the Struggles of Mosaicing

February 27, 2018

In this week blog, I will be presenting an update on the CPSX High-Altitude Balloon (HAB) project science objectives, the current progress of my LPSC posters on redox conditions and lava flow surface roughness, and the impact melt sheet at West Clearwater, and the start of mosaicing LRO NAC data, and eventually Mini-RF data from lunar craters. The data currently being processed is from Tycho Crater. Along with LPSC and USGS ISIS, PHASR is ongoing, with myself and Matt Bourassa (UWO research engineer) heading off in about a week to conduct a geological survey of the analog field site. The manuscript editing has taken a new turn thanks to an article Dr Catherine Neish sent to the research group about how to properly write a paper. I read the article, and it has given me ideas on how to restructure and organize my discussion section to make it more readable and less cluttered with jargon.


HAB Project

On the 22nd of February, I held a science team meeting to finalize the science objectives for the CPSX HAB project. Initially, we were aiming for a bioaerosol sampling traverse in the atmosphere to collect and identify microorganisms. Unfortunately, the engineering team informed us that the maximum weight limit for the science team was 2.4 kg (very limited). Instruments needed for bioaerosol sampling (e.g. impingement devices) would have weighed too much. Instead, we aimed to measure the atmospheric conditions, gas species, and light spectra in the atmosphere, potentially to a maximum altitude of 30 km. Our science objectives include measuring temperature, pressure, relative humidity, carbon dioxide, methane, O3, radiation, and UV spectra. Collecting these measurements will benefit the science team for next year's launch, which will include a bioaerosol sampling experiment. Comparing microorganisms to atmospheric conditions can tell us under what conditions the organisms are able to survive. 


The date of the launch is still under consideration, but it will be happening around CPSX Space Day. I will be keeping everyone informed on when the balloon will be launched, it all depends on the weather conditions (cloud cover, precipitation, and wind direction (winds must travel north or NE)).


LPSC Posters

Two drafts of my LPSC posters are near completion. I only need to re-read some of the references to ensure I have got some key facts correct, make sure my interpretations are plausible, and edit the figures to make them clear and readable.


I will be showing them to my research group during our meeting tomorrow. I will put the posters in the blog after I have attended LPSC from the 19th to the 23rd of March.



I have completed the tutorials on the USGS ISIS3 website and I have begun downloading Experiment Data Record LRO NAC image files. This is all still practice for me, as I am still getting the hang of following a procedure to make sure I obtain the kernels for the ISIS cubes files, and calibrating the data before projecting it onto a two-dimensional map file. For background clarification, in order for a cube file data to be calibrated and geometrically or photo-metrically processed information from the Spacecraft & Planetary ephemerides, Instrument C-matrix and Event kernels (SPICE) is required. The information is organized into kernels, and each kernel holds a specific parameter of the instrument, for example: SpacecraftName, InstrumentId, TargetName, StartTime and StopTime.


After I acquired the kernels for the LRO NAC cube files, I calibrated the data and projected it onto a two-dimensional sinusoidal map. A sinusoidal map is a pseudocyclindrical equal-area map projection (see image below).


Another map projection I have been using is an equirectangular projection. I use this projection when I want to display all of the LRO NAC cube data as a simple two-dimensional rectangular map.

 The steps I followed to map project my LRO NAC images from Tycho Crater are as follows (Thanks to Dr Mike Zanetti for giving me a script after I looked through the steps on the USGS ISIS website):


1.  lronac2isis from=file-name_01.IMG to=file_name_01.cub

(converts the image file downloaded from the planetary database system to an ISIS3 cube file)


2.  spiceinit from=file_name_01.cub

(acquires the necessary kernels for the cube file)


3.  lronaccal from=file_name_01.cub to=file_name_01.cal.cub

(calibrates the data in the cube file)


4.  cam2map from=file_name_01.cal.cub to=file_name_01.map.cub map=sinusoidal.map

(projects the calibrated cube file to a two-dimensional sinusoidal map)


5.  isis2std from=file_name_01.map.cub to=file_name_01.map.png

(converts the projected cube file to a png)


After I completed these steps for each file, I transferred them to ArcGIS 10.5.1 to begin mosaicing them together. I have been having some difficulty getting the mosaic command to work on ISIS3. I have been using the command created by the gooey but the terminal does not run it successfully. I will be re-visiting this problem throughout the entire week and the weeks ahead.


Unfortunately, the png images are too large to upload onto this blog, so I can only show them to my research group using power-point. If you would like to see them, I will have them on my laptop at LPSC in March!


PHASR - Analog Site Visit

After weeks of email chain messaging, weekly meetings, and a Schrodinger Basin rover traverse planning workshop, the PHASR team at Western University is finally able to send a reconnaissance team to conduct a geological survey of the analog site at Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain. We had some complications last week but they have now been resolved. Initially, Dr Gordon Osinski was going to be the field geologist on the reconnaissance team, however since he is no longer able to travel to the site, he has asked me to go as the field geologist. During an approximately 5 day (including travel time) trip to Lanzarote, I will be conducting a geological survey of the analog site with representatives from the Canadian Space Agency. Our goal is to document geological features analogous to features of scientific interest on the Moon, such as the volcanic regolith, brecciated material, scattered rock samples, and boulders (or exposed outcrops). We also need a detailed map of the analog site, high-resolution imagery of the regolith and outcrops, and a general description of the terrain. Details on this reconnaissance geological survey will be released some time in the future. I cannot share everything but it will be made public soon.


The images below were taken by instructors from the European Space Agency PANGAEA-X astronaut training program.




To close off this weeks blog, I am still in the process of editing my manuscript. It has been on hold lately because LPSC is approaching, but when the posters are completed I will be able to resume editing the manuscript. My PhD proposal background reading is coming along nicely but I need to find more review papers on the Moon, lava flow surface roughness, radar, and lava flow rheology. Next blog, I will be sharing with you guys my experience from the Lanzarote reconnaissance geological survey, final drafts of my LPSC posters, and perhaps mosaiced images of Tycho Crater with Mini-RF datasets.


Talk to you all soon!




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