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Improving the usability of Galileo and Voyager images of Jupiter’s moon, Europa

October 25, 2021

NASA's Voyager 1, Voyager 2, and Galileo spacecraft acquired hundreds of images of Jupiter's moon Europa. These images provide the only moderate- to high-resolution views of the moon's surface and are therefore a critical resource for scientific analysis and future mission planning. Unfortunately, uncertain knowledge of the spacecraft's position and pointing during image acquisition resulted in significant errors in the location of the images on the surface. The result is that adjacent images are poorly aligned, with some images displaced by more than 100 km from their correct location. These errors severely degrade the usability of the Voyager and Galileo imaging data sets. To improve the usability of these data sets, we used the U.S. Geological Survey Integrated Software for Imagers and Spectrometers to build a nearly global image tie-point network with more than 50,000 tie points and 135,000 image measurements on 481 Galileo and 221 Voyager images. A global least-squares bundle adjustment of our final Europa tie-point network calculated latitude, longitude, and radius values for each point by minimizing residuals globally, and resulted in root mean square (RMS) uncertainties of 246.6 m, 307.0 m, and 70.5 m in latitude, longitude, and radius, respectively. The total RMS uncertainty was 0.32 pixels. This work enables direct use of nearly the entire Galileo and Voyager image data sets for Europa. We are providing the community with updated NASA Navigation and Ancillary Information Facility Spacecraft, Planet, Instrument, C-matrix (pointing), and Events kernels, mosaics of Galileo images acquired during each observation sequence, and individual processed and projected level 2 images.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2021
Title Improving the usability of Galileo and Voyager images of Jupiter’s moon, Europa
DOI 10.1029/2021EA001935
Authors Michael T. Bland, Lynn A. Weller, Brent Archinal, Ethan Smith, Benjamin H Wheeler
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Earth and Space Science
Index ID 70230971
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Astrogeology Science Center

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