Curiosity Rover

CrustaMars and the Curiosity Rover

Video shows Dawn in the KeckCAVES interacting with a very large CAD model of the Curiosity Rover with a mosaic of images taken by the rover on Mars in the background. The image below also shows Dawn walking on the surface of Mars using Crusta as well as interacting with the ShowEarthModel. (Filmed by The Department of the 4th Dimension for the UCOP campaign Onward California).

Crusta is being extensively used for evaluating the geology of the landing site for the Mars Science Laboratory, and Dawn Sumner’s use of it played a key role in her activities associated with landing site evaluation and making a geological map of this area. Much of the landing site selection work is documented in videos posted to CrustaMars on YouTube.

(To watch this movie in 3d go to the YouTube site.)

Please see Dawn’s MSL web site.

If you are interested in using Crusta to visualize Mars CTX, HiRISE, etc. data, please contact Dawn ([email protected]). We would like to develop a strong user community who can contribute to both science and tools.

We are also in the process of integrating HiRISE and MER topography data into a single project. The following image is of Victoria Crater, Meridiani Planum, with a HiRISE DEM rendered as grid points colored by an image with a MER long-base line XYZ map created by Alex Hayes. Oliver manually aligned them. We would like to develop a full data pipeline from PDS data formats to Crusta projects for both MER data and MSL, of course!

Images of merged rover XYZ map of Cape St. Mary and HiRISE point cloud data rendered in LidarViewer. A) Overview of Victoria Crater based on HiRISE point cloud data with no interpolation between DEM control points. The detailed rover XYZ map is embedded at the tip of the white arrow and shows rover view direction. B) Closer, oblique view of the rover XYZ map embedded in the HiRISE point cloud. C) A bedding measurement in the Cape St. Mary XYZ map using the Virtual Geologic Compass. The background crater rim consists of HiRISE point cloud data. (Data described in Hayes et al., 2011.)

CrustaMars and the Curiosity Rover




  • Dawn Sumner, Professor
  • Amy Williams, Graduate Student
  • Alex Hayes, Postdoc UC Berkeley, Adjunct Professor at Cornell University
  • Wes Watters, Professor, Wellesley College
  • Anahita Yadzi, Undergraduate in Aeronautical Engineering
  • Chris Haley, Former Undergraduate in Aeronautical Engineering (now a graduate student at UCLA)

Computer Scientists

  • Tony Bernardin, Former Postdoc, Former Graduate Student
  • Divya Banesh, Graduate Student
  • Oliver Kreylos, Research Scientist
  • Bernd Hamann, Professor



  • Sumner, DY (rejected) manuscript on Marwth geology (7 MB pdf)


  • NASA Press Conference 22 July 2011
  • 4th MSL Landing Site Workshop
    • Sumner, DY Using temporal relationships to maximize science return: Lower mound in Gale Crater, September 2010 (6.1 MB ppt)
    • Sumner, DY Physical outcrop characteristics of the Mawrth candidate landing site & the potential role of impacts in shaping stratigraphy, September 2010 (5 MB pdf)