Feeds

Curiosity kills 3D Cameron cams

No Avatar remake for NASA's new Mars rover

Build a business case: developing custom apps

NASA has decided to ditch plans to equip its Curiosity Mars rover with a pair of 3D cameras.

Avatar helmsman James Cameron was behind the move to replace the rover's two cameras with some enhanced glass, but the agency says it doesn't have time to test the kit before Curiosity sets off for the Red Planet later this year.

The Curiosity Mars rover. Pic: NASA

Curiosity is already fitted with a pair of fixed focal length cameras in its "Mastcam", seen at the top left of the photo above. Malin Space Science Systems, which made the cameras, was working with Cameron to replace these with a couple of zoom lens models suitable for generating 3D.

The existing cameras are the Mastcam 100 and Mastcam 34 (see pic below), with a CCD resolution of 3,008 x 2,000 pixels and focals lengths of 100mm and 34mm respectively.

The Mastcam 34. Pic: NASA

Mars Science Laboratory project scientist John Grotzinger said: "With the Mastcam that was installed last year and the rover's other instruments, Curiosity can accomplish its ambitious research goals.

"Malin Space Science Systems has provided excellent, unprecedented science cameras for this mission. The possibility for a zoom-camera upgrade was very much worth pursuing, but time became too short for the levels of testing that would be needed for them to confidently replace the existing cameras."

Malin will continue to work on the zoom models for possible future use. Cameron said: "While Curiosity won't benefit from the 3D motion imaging that the zooms enable, I'm certain that this technology will play an important role in future missions. In the meantime, we're certainly going to make the most of our cameras that are working so well on Curiosity right now."

Curiosity is slated to head off to Mars between 25 November and 18 December. During its two-year mission it will "examine whether conditions in the landing area have been favorable for microbial life" and sniff for "evidence about whether life has existed there". ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.