LPL's HiSCI Selected for Mars Mission
The High Resolution Stereo Color Imager, or HiSCI, will be one of five instruments onboard the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, scheduled for a launch in 2016. Professor Alfred McEwen is HiSCI Principle Investigator and Assistant Professor Shane Byrne is co-investigator.
HiSCI will be operated by the same LPL team that has been acquiring images from Mars in stunning detail using the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, or HiRISE, camera that is orbiting Mars.
HiSCI's color images will be much wider (more than 5 miles) than those of HiRISE (less than 1 mile), which will allow researchers to see much more of the Martian surface and changes that are occurring there.
HiRISE can take images at a finer resolution, but its color-imaging capabilities are limited and it requires two orbital passes, which can be months apart, to acquire a stereo image of a feature on Mars' surface. HiSCI will be able to take a stereo pair of images in the same pass, which eliminates unwanted variation, such as differences in sun angle at the time each image is shot.
In addition to using HiSCI to image previously unknown features, the LPL team plans to take a closer look at features already imaged with the HiRISE camera and other Mars orbital experiments and to search for new candidate landing sites to follow up on new discoveries.