Field-Portable VNIR Spectrometry: Applications for Mars Rover Operational Strategies Testing at Terrestrial Analog Sites
September 01, 2016
Visible-near infrared (VNIR) spectroscopy provides a wealth of compositional information, and is a valuable tool in planetary exploration. The 2016 GeoHeuristic Operational Strategies Testing (GHOST) program is a terrestrial analog rover simulation designed to refine Mars Rover operational strategies. The GHOST program utilized a TerraSpec Halo handheld VNIR spectrometer to simulate the function of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) ChemCam and Mars 2020 rover SuperCam. Commercially available instrumentation is employed to eliminate engineering, communication, and mission-specific specifications, and allow the GHOST team to focus solely on investigative protocols. The portable spectrometer allowed for rapid data acquisition of in-situ outcrops, similar to those data gathered by Mars rovers, and allowed the instrument operator to rapidly traverse the field site, maximizing the number of data points gathered for the science teams.