Using an image stacking and matching technique, researchers from University College London revealed unprecedented detail of the Martian surface. The Beagle-2 lander, ancient lakebeds, and NASA’s MER-A rover tracks were shown at a resolution up to five times greater than previously achieved.
The technique, called Super-Resolution Restoration (SRR), could be used to spot artifacts from previous failed landings. SRR could also allow scientists to explore vastly more terrain than is possible with a single rover.
“We now have the equivalent of drone-eye vision anywhere on the surface of Mars where there are enough clear repeat pictures," said professor Jan-Peter Muller from the UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory.
By stacking and matching pictures of the same area taken from different angles, Super-Resolution Restoration (SRR) allows objects as small as 5-cm (about 2 inches) to be seen from the same 25-cm telescope. The UCL team applied SRR to stacks of between four and eight 25-cm images of the Martian surface, taken using the NASA HiRISE camera to achieve the 5-cm target resolution.
Also: Learn about the Camera-Based Pose Initialization and Propagation (PIP) system.