NASA?s Perseverance Mars rover has been augmented with theMastcam-Z
[https://mars.nasa.gov/news/8663/nasas-perseverance-rover-will-look-at-mars-through-these-eyes/] instrument that will be the most advanced set of rover ?eyes? yet, to scope out
the Red Planet.
View original tweet from NASA?s Perseverance Mars Rover
Perseverance?s head are basically a set of 3D goggles, but nothing like the ones
we use to watch a movie. The Mastercam-Z is the rover?s primary camera that
creates 3D images of the surrounding environment. This allows the rover to plan
out precision movement along the contours of Martian landscapes and even operate
its robotic arm.
With Mastcam, Perseverance will be able to perceive Mars in multiple wavelengths
of light like ultraviolet or infrared light that can?t be seen by the human eye.
It is one of 23 cameras that Perseverance Mars rover has been equipped with. The
other cameras are meant to serve different purposes like navigation,
observation, engineering, and more.
Except for a few new additions, the cameras are all improved versions of the
ones equipped by the Curiosity rover. Even Curiosity has aMastcam
[https://mars.nasa.gov/msl/spacecraft/instruments/mastcam/]but there is a key
difference between both instruments, zoom.
While the Perseverance?s ?head? looks the same as Curiosity?s ?head?, the newer
Mastcam can zoom and the ?Z? is meant to indicate just that. Mastcam-Z?s
principal investigator, Jim Bell from Arizona State Universityexplained
[https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=7657], ?The original plan was
for Curiosity to have a zoom camera that could go out to an extreme wide-angle
like a spaghetti western view? but it proved to be difficult to achieve before
its launch in 2011.
The Perseverance Mars rover has a launch window scheduled between July 17-August
5. After being launched aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida
the rover will then land at the Jezero Crater, after about seven months of
traversing the space on February 18, 2021.
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