Characterizing and navigating small bodies with imaging data

R. W. Gaskell, O. S. Barnouin-Jha, D. J. Scheeres, A. S. Konopliv, T. Mukai, S. Abe, J. Saito, M. Ishiguro, T. Kubota, T. Hashimoto, J. Kawaguchi, M. Yoshikawa, K. Shirakawa, T. Kominato, N. Hirata, H. Demura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

210 Citations (Scopus)


Recent advances in the characterization of small body surfaces with stereophotoclinometry are & discussed. The principal data output is an ensemble of landmark maps (L-maps), high-resolution topography/albedo maps of varying resolution that tile the surface of the body. Because they can have a resolution comparable to the best images, and can be located on a global reference frame to high accuracy, L-maps provide a significant improvement in discriminatory power for studies of small bodies, ranging from regolith processes to interior structure. These techniques are now being used to map larger bodies such as the Moon and Mercury. L-maps are combined to produce a standard global topography model (GTM) with about 1.57 million vectors and having a wide variety of applications. They can also be combined to produce high-resolution topography maps that describe local areas with much greater detail than the GTM. When combined with nominal predictions from other data sources and available data from other instruments such as LIDAR or RADAR, solutions for the spacecraft position and camera pointing are the most accurate available. Examples are drawn from studies of Phobos, Eros, and Itokawa, including surface characterization, gravity analysis, spacecraft navigation, and incorporation of LIDAR or RADAR data. This work has important implications for potential future missions such as Deep Interior and the level of navigation and science that can be achieved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1049-1061
Number of pages13
JournalMeteoritics and Planetary Science
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Jun
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Characterizing and navigating small bodies with imaging data'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this