FOCUS ON #CURIOSITY’S #MARS SCIENCE CAMERAS: CHEMCAM, MARDI, MAHLI AND MASTCAM

Chemistry & Camera (ChemCam)

The ChemCam package consists of two remote sensing instruments:  the first planetary science Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectrometer (LIBS), which identifies elemental compositions, and a Remote Micro-Imager (RMI), which places the LIBS analyses in their geomorphologic (terrain formation/structure) context.

ChemCam will make daily analyses of the soil around rover to understand variations within the soils both locally and regionally.  Additionally, the ChemCam instrument package can provide analyses of samples that are inaccessible to other instruments, such as on vertical outcrops where LIBS can target individual strata using its submillimeter beam diameter.

Mars Descent Imager (MARDI)

The MARDI is a fixed-focus color camera fixed-body mounted on the fore-port side of the Mars Science Lab (MSL) rover, pointed in the +Z direction (toward the ground).  The camera took 1600 x 1200 pixel images at 5 frames per second throughout the time between heatshield separation and touchdown on Mars, a period of about two minutes.

Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI)

The MAHLI is a focusable color camera fixed on the turret at the end of the MSL robotic arm.  It acquires images in a range of from 11.44 mm to infinity of up to 1600 x 1200 pixels.  Its color quality is equivalent to that of consumer digital cameras.

Mast Camera (Mastcam)

The Mastcam is a two-instrument suite of imaging systems mounted on the MSL rover’s Remote Sensing Mast with a boresight 1.97 mm above the bottom of the wheels when the rover is on flat ground.  It takes both photos and videos.

Source and photo credits:  NASA/JPL-Caltech, September 16, 2012

 

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