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NASA ‘Optometrists’ Verify Mars 2020 Rover’s 20/20 Vision

with visionary science instruments, the Mars 2020 rover underwent an “eye”
exam after several cameras were installed on it. The rover contains an armada of imaging capabilities,
from wide-angle landscape cameras to narrow-angle high-resolution zoom lens

“We completed the machine-vision
calibration of the forward-facing cameras on the rover,” said Justin Maki,
chief engineer for imaging
and the imaging scientist for
Mars 2020 at JPL. “This measurement is critical for accurate stereo vision,
which is an important capability of the vehicle.”

To perform the calibration, the 2020 team imaged
target boards that feature grids of dots, placed at distances ranging from
1 to 44 yards (1 to 40 meters) away. The target boards were used to confirm
that the cameras meet the project’s requirements
for resolution and geometric accuracy. The cameras tested included two Navcams, four Hazcams, the SuperCam
and the two Mastcam-Z cameras.

“We tested every camera on the front of
the rover chassis and also those mounted on the mast,” said Maki. “Characterizing
the geometric alignment of all these imagers is important for driving the
vehicle on Mars, operating the robotic arm and accurately targeting the rover’s

In the
coming weeks, the imagers on the back of the rover body and on the turret at
the end of the rover’s arm will undergo similar calibration.

on the rover’s remote sensing mast, the Navcams (navigation cameras) will
acquire panoramic 3D image data that will support route planning, robotic-arm
operations, drilling and sample acquisition. The Navcams can work in tandem
with the Hazcams (hazard-avoidance cameras) mounted on the lower portion of the
rover chassis to provide complementary views of the terrain to safeguard the
rover against getting lost or crashing into unexpected obstacles. They’ll be used
by software enabling the Mars 2020 rover to perform self-driving over the
Martian terrain.

with its laser and spectrometers, SuperCam’s imager will examine Martian rocks
and soil, seeking organic compounds that could be related to past life on Mars.
The rover’s two Mastcam-Z high-resolution cameras will work together as a multispectral,
stereoscopic imaging instrument to enhance the Mars 2020 rover’s driving and
core-sampling capabilities. The Mastcam-Z cameras will also enable science team
members to observe details in rocks and sediment at any location within the
rover’s field of view, helping them piece together the planet’s geologic

JPL is building and will manage operations of the Mars
2020 rover for the NASA Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s
headquarters in Washington. NASA will use Mars 2020 and other missions, including to the Moon, to prepare for human exploration of the
Red Planet. The agency intends
to establish a sustained human presence on and around the Moon by 2028 through
NASA’s Artemis lunar exploration plans.

submit your name to travel to Mars with NASA’s 2020 mission and obtain a
souvenir boarding pass to the Red Planet, go here by Sept. 30, 2019:

For more information about
the mission, go to:

News Media Contact

DC Agle

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.



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