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Astrobiology. 2008 Oct;8(5):1001-11. doi: 10.1089/ast.2007.0142.

The MARTE VNIR imaging spectrometer experiment: design and analysis.

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SETI Institute, Mountain View, California., NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California, USA.


We report on the design, operation, and data analysis methods employed on the VNIR imaging spectrometer instrument that was part of the Mars Astrobiology Research and Technology Experiment (MARTE). The imaging spectrometer is a hyperspectral scanning pushbroom device sensitive to VNIR wavelengths from 400-1000 nm. During the MARTE project, the spectrometer was deployed to the Río Tinto region of Spain. We analyzed subsets of three cores from Río Tinto using a new band modeling technique. We found most of the MARTE drill cores to contain predominantly goethite, though spatially coherent areas of hematite were identified in Core 23. We also distinguished non Fe-bearing minerals that were subsequently analyzed by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and found to be primarily muscovite. We present drill core maps that include spectra of goethite, hematite, and non Fe-bearing minerals.

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