SCIENCE CHINA Information Sciences, Volume 61 , Issue 10 : 102301(2018) https://doi.org/10.1007/s11432-017-9277-x

Multi-scale rock detection on Mars

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  • ReceivedMay 31, 2017
  • AcceptedOct 10, 2017
  • PublishedMay 18, 2018


In this paper, we propose a novel autonomous Martian rock detection framework via superpixel segmentation. Different from current state-of-the-art pixel-level rock segmenting methods, the proposed method deals with this issue in region level. Image is splitted into homogeneous regions based on intensity information and spatial layout. The heart of proposed framework is to enhance such region contrast. Then, rocks can be simply segmented from the resulting contrast-map by an adaptive threshold. Our method is efficient in dealing with large image and only few parameters need to set. Preliminary experimental results show that our algorithm outperforms edge-based methods in various grayscale rover images.


This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (Grant Nos. 61503102, 61701225).


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  • Figure 1

    (Color online) Some of the notable rocks on Mars that edge detection algorithms failed to attach contours or generated false boundaries. From top to bottom: grayscale images taken by Spirit Rover's pancam; edge maps obtained by Sobel detector; results from Canny operator.

  • Figure 2

    (Color online) Superpixel of Mars images.

  • Figure 3

    (Color online) Statistical performance on RC* and RC, respectively. (a) PRC curves; (b) AUC and Max-$~F_{\beta}$.

  • Figure 4

    (Color online) Visual performance of proposed algorithm on real Martian images. (a) Original image; (b) and (d) are contrast maps resulting from RC and RC*, respectively; (c) and (e) are corresponding cutting maps; (f) the detecting results by Canny operator; (g) ground truth.

  • Figure 5

    (Color online) Statistical performance on tests with parameters changing. (a) PRC curves; (b) AUC and Max-$F_{\beta}$.

  • Table 1   Parameters setting for multi-scale superpixels segmentation
    Scale 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
    $~N^i~$ 250 300 350 400 450 500 550 600 650 700 750 800
    $~m^i~$ 5.5 5.5 7 7 8.5 8.5 10 10 11.5 11.5 13 13

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