A feature detection and mapping system is described that is designed to support planetary flyby operations. The features identified by the system are local maximums of a difference image generated by convolving sensor images with a bank of Gabor filters at different orientations and scales. The feature points found by such a method are fairly stable under different viewing conditions when tested using actual planetary images from previous flybys. A feature map constructed from these points is used to model the object's surface and to provide error estimates of the sensor's attitude with respect to the object. Flyby simulations using the feature detection method and guidance control information derived from the generated map perform competently on both spherical and elongated objects.