Mapping and characterization of small-scale aeolian structures on Mars: An example from the MSL landing site in Gale Crater
A new set of methodologies, which allow a simple and fast mapping and characterization of small-scale aeolian structures on Mars is introduced in this work. We follow an object-based approach in which the bedform crestlines are automatically mapped and characterized. From the methodology validation, we conclude that the quality of the obtained results is comparable with human-produced photointerpretations. We show that the accuracy associated with the measurement of mean trends from the automatically mapped patterns is less than 10°. Through the analysis of two areas located near the MSL landing site in Gale Crater, we explore some of the possibilities that the automatic mapping technique enables. Namely, for multitemporal surveys and ripple pattern analysis. We demonstrate how the mapped ripple patterns can be used to assess local wind orientations, and we analyze some examples that illustrate the diversity of wavelength spatial distributions that can be found on Mars. We try to relate these pattern wavelength variations with the possible local influence of granulometry and wind shear velocity.