Carolina R SV

MSc Student 

Earth & Planetary Sciences Univeristy of Western Ontario 


  • Naming HiRISE DTMs

    Hi all, 

    It has been a while!

    Today I will be explaining the meaning of the HiRISE's DTM ID. For those of you who doesn’t know, these past few months I have been generating HiRISE DTMs to be able to get the surface roughness (Hurst exponent and RMS slope) of lava flows on Mars. I have been processing the EDR products of many HiRISE stereo-pairs into DTMs using the NASA's Ames Stereo Pipeline and ISIS3. The PDS naming convention for HiRISE DTMs is quite simple, but tricky. I have made a table explains this convention and is shown below.

    Table 1: PDS naming convention for HiRISE DTMs

    Now that you have read the PDS naming convention for HiRISE DTMs, you will be able to understand the following table showing the HiRISE DTMs that I have successfully processed so far. 










    Table 2: HiRISE stereo-pairs processed into DTMs using the NASA's Ames Stereo Pipeline with their corresponding DTM ID. 


    This is all for this week's blog post. Come back next week to read more about my research!











  • Women in Astronomy - Wanda Diaz Merced

    Puerto Rican Astrophysicist, Wanda Diaz Merced.

    Wanda Diaz Merced is not a common astrophysicist. She is a blind Boricua that uses sonification to interpret data from space. How amazing is that!?

     Since a very young age, she knew she wanted to be a scientist, so when the time came, she started her bachelor’s degree in Physics at the University of Puerto Rico.  Unfortunately, she lost her sight during the way, but she did not lead this disability to end her dream to become an astrophysicist.  She worked hard and push herself to become the strong woman and scientist that she is today.   

    After her bachelor’s degree she started working at the NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, where with a group of scientists she started to convert data into sound. This process is called, sonification. 

    In one of her many TED talks that she has given, she says:

    "Listening to this very gamma-ray burst brought us to the notion that the use of sound as an adjunctive visual display may also support sighted astronomers in the search for more information in the data,” 

    She uses pitch, volume, and/or rhythm to identify the different data values. High data values will have higher pitch and vice versa.

    After five years of working at the NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, she flew to Scotland, where she did her PhD degree in Astrophysics at the University of Glasgow.  Afterwards, she did her post-doc at the South African Astronomical Observatory in Cape down, where she is currently working as a scientist in the Office of Astronomy for Development.  

    She has won many medals of recognition for her work. One of her daily goals is to facilitate research to disability people that wants to become scientist. 

    She by far, is a REVOLUTIONARY WOMAN in science.

    “As a visually impaired scientist, I daydream about not being underestimated. I wish for people to regard those with disabilities (or other learning styles, as I prefer to call it) as capable of contributing to my field (any field!) at the same level as their sighted peers.”

    - Wanda Diaz Merced


    Click the following link to listen to one of her sonified x-ray data:


    Click the following link to read about her work:







  • Before, during and after Christmas break...

    Hey guys, 

    Happy New Year 2019! 

    It has been over a month since I've updated this blog. Today I am going to talk a bit of what I've done this past month which include: my annual evaluation report, Christmas break in Puerto Rico, LPSC abstract, and chapter 1 of my MSc thesis.

    Before leaving to my wonderful island Puerto Rico to spend my Christmas break in warm temperatures, I presented my annual evaluation report to Catherine and Livio. One year have passed since I moved to this foreign country all alone, with a goal in my mind, getting my MSc degree in Planetary Science. It took me about 4 to 5 months to understand the code that I needed to use to process my data, and a bit more to understand the concept and goal of my research project. I even thought I was not going to be able to do it. I also thought it was too much for me and that I was not smart enough to be here. And there I was, one year later, presenting my annual report at Neish's office. WOW! I was so proud of myself that day. I even had results to show and everything.  At the end, I recieved feedback of my work, one of them regarding the introduction of my thesis which I am currently working on. However, before working on chapter 1, I needed to write my LPSC abstract, and before doing that, I was going for a 2-week Christmas break with my family in Puerto Rico. 

    Two days after my evaluation report and I was on a plane to my beautiful island Puerto Rico. I could not wait for the sunny days at the beach, to have salty hair and sandy feet. I was so excited to see my family and my dogs, to eat my grandma's food, to listen to the coqui at night and hear the Puerto Rican’s unique accent, to feel the humidity in my skin, to smell the fresh air of my hometown while drinking local coffee at my parent's balcony. I admit, I did clap when the airplane got to Puerto Rico, which is a Puerto Rican tradition in all flights. I used to criticize Puerto Ricans every time they clap after a flight, but this time I'm was the first one clapping. Haha.

    After two amazing weeks in Puerto Rico, I came back to LondON and started working on my LPSC abstract. After many drafts, edits, and comments between myself, Catherine, and Livio, we were finally happy with the last version and submitted it.   Now, after all of this, I was ready to start writing chapter 1 of my thesis, which is slowing going, but going.  

    Finally, I want to show my latest surface roughness values of Martian lava flows plotted with surface roughness values of lava flows from Moon and Earth from Neish et al. 2017. 


    Also, here are some pretty pictures of Puerto Rico! Enjoy :) 


  • Writing writing and more writing ...

    Hi all, 

    This blog is going to be quite short since these past few days I've been spending my time writing my M.Sc. thesis proposal for the seminar course, LPSC abstract, and annual progress report. All of these assignments are due in the next few days. That said, I have not done much of data processing and/or analysis.

    However, I have two new Mars DTMs that I want to show today. The DTM on the left is Bullseye crater. The surface roughness parameters derived from this DTM are going to be compare with the statistics derived from the DTM made by the HiRISE team with SOCET SET.  This comparison is key for this project because it will let us know whether the roughness derived from SOCET SET DTMs is the same as the roughness derived from ASP DTMs. 



    Figure 1:  DEMs of Bullseye crater (left) and Marte vallis (right). 

    Credit: NASA / JPL / University of Arizona

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