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Feature Extraction And Classification From Planetary Science Datasets Enabled By Machine Learning

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
November 2, 2023
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Feature Extraction And Classification From Planetary Science Datasets Enabled By Machine Learning
Examples of chaos feature types under our definition, adapted from that of Spaun et al. (1998). Image credit: NASA/JPL

In this paper we present two examples of recent investigations that we have undertaken, applying Machine Learning (ML) neural networks (NN) to image datasets from outer planet missions to achieve feature recognition.

Our first investigation was to recognize ice blocks (also known as rafts, plates, polygons) in the chaos regions of fractured ice on Europa. We used a transfer learning approach, adding and training new layers to an industry-standard Mask R-CNN (Region-based Convolutional Neural Network) to recognize labeled blocks in a training dataset.

Subsequently, the updated model was tested against a new dataset, achieving 68% precision. In a different application, we applied the Mask R-CNN to recognize clouds on Titan, again through updated training followed by testing against new data, with a precision of 95% over 369 images. We evaluate the relative successes of our techniques and suggest how training and recognition could be further improved.

The new approaches we have used for planetary datasets can further be applied to similar recognition tasks on other planets, including Earth. For imagery of outer planets in particular, the technique holds the possibility of greatly reducing the volume of returned data, via onboard identification of the most interesting image subsets, or by returning only differential data (images where changes have occurred) greatly enhancing the information content of the final data stream.

Conor Nixon, Zachary Yahn, Ethan Duncan, Ian Neidel, Alyssa Mills, Benoît Seignovert (OSUNA), Andrew Larsen, Kathryn Gansler, Charles Liles, Catherine Walker, Douglas Trent, John Santerre

Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM); Machine Learning (cs.LG)
Cite as: arXiv:2310.17681 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2310.17681v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
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Journal reference: IEEE Aerospace Conference, 2023, pp.1-16
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Submission history
From: Benoit Seignovert
[v1] Thu, 26 Oct 2023 11:43:55 UTC (1,520 KB)

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻