The Mars 2020 rover from NASA needs to pass all tests to begin its mission. As engineers are working on the array of cameras of the rover, the unmanned explorer passed its first series of eye exams. The front of the rover will feature 23 cameras, and one of those was tested in Pasadena, California at the Spacecraft Assembly Facility’s High Bay 1 at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) last month.
The evolution of technology
Since a planetary mission carried the first such mission that took place in the 1970s and a single camera, a lot of things have changed even though the two Viking Mars landers were successful wearing only a pair of imagers each. Now we can see how the science evolved as the Mars 2020 rover will have seven science cameras, nine engineering cameras, and another seven entry, descent, and landing cameras.
These cameras will not only help the rover send scientists state-of-the-art high-resolution images for geological work but also allow it to navigate the Martian landscape without risking bumping into something. A few of these gadgets were tested and installed for the first time, according to NASA. They include the SuperCam, four Hazcams, two Navcams, and the two Mastcam-Z cameras.
How will the Mars 2020 rover’s mission continue?
The cameras will need to be calibrated after they are up and running, and a kind of eye chart will be used. It will be placed in front of the specifies camera at distances from 3.3 to 131 ft (one to 40 m) and consists of a grid of white dots on a black background. Engineers can this way determine the geometric accuracy and resolution of the camera.
It is important for its geometric accuracy to be measured because the robotic arm of the Mars 2020 rover is operated by the navigation cameras (Navcams) on the remote sensing mast that also produces panoramic stereoscopic images for making its way through the obstacles.