NASA Scientists Install HD ‘Eyes’ in Mars 2020 Rover

first_imgStay on target Upon touching down on the Red Planet, NASA’s Mars 2020 rover will launch into a series of tasks—including raising a pair of high-definition cameras.Integrated into the remote sensing mast (RSM), the two Mastcam-Z shooters are multispectral, stereoscopic imaging instruments intended to boost the rover’s driving and core-sampling capabilities.“Mastcam-Z will be the first Mars color camera that can zoom, enabling 3D images at unprecedented resolution,” according to principal investigator Jim Bell of Arizona State University.The technology also enables Earthbound scientists to observe textural, mineralogical, structural, and morphologic details at any location within the rover’s field of view.Any additional details culled from the Martian surface may help NASA piece together the planet’s geologic history.“With a resolution of three-hundredths of an inch in front of the rover and less than 1.5 inches from [more than] 330 feet away, Mastcam-Z images will play a key role in selecting the best possible samples to return from Jezero Crater,” Bell said in a statement.Twin cameras aren’t the only firsts on this mission, though.Mars 2020 will be the first spacecraft with the ability to accurately retarget its point of touchdown during the landing sequence—emphasis mine, because that’s just plain awesome—thanks to the Lander Vision System (LVS).The rover also carries an entirely new suite of instruments, including a caching system that will collect Martian rock and soil samples, then store them on the planet’s surface for retrieval and return to Earth by subsequent missions.The first-of-its-kind mission is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in July 2020, and should make a soft touchdown in Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021.More on Geek.com:ExoMars 2020 Rover Operations Control Center Opens in ItalyNASA Puts Mars 2020 Rover to the TestSend Your Name to Mars Aboard the 2020 Rover NASA Says 2 Asteroids Will Safely Fly By Earth This WeekendScientists Discover Possible Interstellar Visitor last_img

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