This set of images illustrates how the science filters of the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity can be used to investigate aspects of the composition and mineralogy of materials on Mars. On the left is a set of laboratory spectra of some iron oxide minerals (red and orange curves) and some relatively unoxidized minerals from typical basaltic volcanic rocks: pyroxenes (green and blue curves). On the right is the result of plotting the calibrated level of reflectance (the percentage of incident sunlight that is reflected off the surface) of several distinct regions from the Sol 183 (Feb. 9, 2013) Mastcam image of drill holes at rock target "John Klein" as a function of wavelength (color).
The wavelengths correspond to the Mastcam science filters plus the red, green and blue wavelengths of the Mastcam Bayer filters, for a total of 12 unique wavelengths between the two Mastcam cameras. The six filters at the lower wavelengths are within the range of typical human color vision, while the six filters at the higher wavelengths represent infrared colors that our eyes are not sensitive to, but which the Mastcams can detect.
See also PIA16805 for additional details.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project and the mission's Curiosity rover for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The rover was designed and assembled at JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
More information about Curiosity is online at http://www.nasa.gov/msl and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/.