This picture presents a choice of the 23 cameras on NASA’s 2020 Mars rover. Many are improved variations of the cameras on the Curiosity rover, with a number of new additions as effectively. Image through NASA.
Mars hasn’t been spectacular in our sky in 2017, however it’ll have a memorable opposition in 2018. Then Mars can be particularly near us, and when many can be talking of this neighboring purple world, shining so brightly in our skies. The 2020 opposition of Mars can be wonderful as effectively, which is why NASA select 2020 because the yr to ship a brand new rover to Mars. Because Earth and Mars will come notably shut that yr, the Mars 2020 mission will want comparatively much less energy to journey to Mars, thus reducing mission prices and dangers. Various particulars of the mission have already been revealed, and this week – October 31, 2017 – NASA introduced that the brand new Mars 2020 rover can have 23 “eyes,” that’s, 23 cameras.
That’s in distinction to 5 cameras for NASA’s Mars Pathfinder mission in 1997, whose rover, Sojourner, was the primary to creep throughout Mars’ floor. And it’s extra cameras than Curiosity’s 17; Curiosity is the latest Mars rover, and the Mars 2020 mission is constructing on its applied sciences.
Camera expertise has, clearly, taken a quantum leap since Sojourner in 1997.
Mars 2020’s cameras can be designed, NASA mentioned, to:
… create sweeping panoramas, reveal obstacles, research the ambiance, and help science devices. They will present dramatic views in the course of the rover’s descent to Mars and be the primary to seize pictures of a parachute because it opens on one other planet. There will even be a digicam contained in the rover’s physique, which can research samples as they’re saved and left on the floor for badortment by a future mission.
Jim Bell of Arizona State University, Tempe, principal investigator for 2020’s Mastcam-Z, the rover’s predominant eyes (the Z stands for zoom), mentioned:
The cameras on 2020 will embody extra colour and Three-D imaging than on Curiosity.
Some digicam lenses will even have a wider area of view. That’s important for the 2020 mission, which can attempt to maximize the time spent doing science and gathering samples. Colin McKinney of JPL, product supply supervisor for the brand new engineering cameras, mentioned:
Our earlier Navcams would snap a number of photos and sew them collectively. With the broader area of view, we get the identical perspective in a single shot.
Read extra about Mars 2020’s new cameras through NASA
This diagram by Roy L. Bishop reveals why 2020 is an efficient time to ship a spacecraft to Mars. It reveals the gap between Earth and Mars at Mars once-every-2-year oppositions, when Earth is pbading kind of between Mars and the solar. Mars’ distance at opposition varies on a 15-year cycle. Image copyright Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Used with permission. Visit the RASC estore to buy the Observers Handbook, a essential device for all skywatchers.
The Mars 2020 spacecraft will observe an entry, descent, touchdown course of just like that utilized in touchdown the Mars rover Curiosity in 2012, however with main technological developments. Read extra about Curiosity’s touchdown, which area engineers jokingly described as 7 minutes of terror.
The Mars 2020 spacecraft entry, descent, touchdown course of can have some flexibility that Curiosity didn’t have.
Artist’s idea of rovers on Mars, through NASA.