Adaptive Multi-sensor Data Fusion Model for In-situ Exploration of Mars

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Tajana Schneiderman, Ohio State University Main Campus, Columbus, OH, United States and Pablo Sobron, SETI Institute Mountain View, St. Louis, MO, United States
Laser Raman spectroscopy (LRS) and laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) can be used synergistically to characterize the geochemistry and mineralogy of potential microbial habitats and biosignatures. The value of LRS and LIBS has been recognized by the planetary science community: (i) NASA’s Mars2020 mission features a combined LRS-LIBS instrument, SuperCam, and an LRS instrument, SHERLOC; (ii) an LRS instrument, RLS, will fly on ESA’s 2018 ExoMars mission. The advantages of combining LRS and LIBS are evident: (1) LRS/LIBS can share hardware components; (2) LIBS reveals the relative concentration of major (and often trace) elements present in a sample; and (3) LRS yields information on the individual mineral species and their chemical/structural nature. Combining data from LRS and LIBS enables definitive mineral phase identification with precise chemical characterization of major, minor, and trace mineral species.

New approaches to data processing are needed to analyze large amounts of LRS+LIBS data efficiently and maximize the scientific return of integrated measurements. Multi-sensor data fusion (MSDF) is a method that allows for robust sample identification through automated acquisition, processing, and combination of data. It optimizes information usage, yielding a more robust characterization of a target than could be acquired through single sensor use. We have developed a prototype fuzzy logic adaptive MSDF model aimed towards the unsupervised characterization of Martian habitats and their biosignatures using LRS and LIBS datasets. Our model also incorporates fusion of microimaging (MI) data – critical for placing analyses in geological and spatial context. Here, we discuss the performance of our novel MSDF model and demonstrate that automated quantification of the salt abundance in sulfate/clay/phyllosilicate mixtures is possible through data fusion of collocated LRS, LIBS, and MI data.