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USGS and DLR topographic mapping of Comet Borrelly

July 19, 2002

In the fall of 2001, NASA's Deep Space 1 (DS1) probe imaged Comet Borrelly during a flyby encounter. Three of the Borrelly images have geometry suitable to photogrammetrically map the nucleus, which form two stereopairs with an expected precision (EP) of ~410 m and ~670 m each. DS1 team members at the USGS and DLR have independently produced digital elevation models (DEMs) of Borrelly. Automatic stereo-matching algorithms were used by both USGS and DLR, but the USGS DEM was additionally manually edited in stereo. We accomplished a quantitative statistical comparison of the DEMs and found they have a standard deviation of 120 m, which is small compared to the EP above. There are systematic differences, we estimate the stereomatching error to only 0.20 pixel RMS, which is similar to the level of subpixel matching accuracy obtained in a wide variety of other mapping situations. The resulting DEMs enable a variety of applications such as perspective views, photometric modeling and studies of the energy balance of the nucleus. We hope to use the USGS DEM as a starting point to extrapolate the shape of the hidden side of the nucleus. This would not only let us determine the volume and moments of inertia of the nucleus, but would lead to a calculation of the insolation onto the nucleus averaged over an entire orbit, and thence to a model of the evolution of nuclear shape.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2002
Title USGS and DLR topographic mapping of Comet Borrelly
Authors Elpitha Howington-Kraus, Randolph L. Kirk, Laurence A. Soderblom, Bernd Giese, Jürgen Oberst
Publication Type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Series Title
Series Number
Index ID 70201649
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Astrogeology Science Center