Mastcam 34: Shorter Focal-Length Eye of Mast Camera Pair for Mars Rover

Mastcam 34: Shorter Focal-Length Eye of Mast Camera Pair for Mars Rover
April 6, 2010
CreditNASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
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The Mast Camera (Mastcam) instrument for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory will use a side-by side pair of cameras for examining terrain around the mission's rover. The instrument delivered in March 2010 by Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., pairs two cameras with fixed focal lengths: a 34-millimeter focal length for one, shown here, and a 100-millimeter focal length for the other. This one, called Mastcam 34, offers wider-angle viewing while the other, Mastcam 100, offers telephoto capability. Each can provide color images and high-definition video, and they can be combined for stereo views.

This image includes a Swiss Army Knife (88.9 millimeters or 3.5 inches long) for scale. Mastcam 34 is a duplicate of Mastcam 100 except for the lens. Each includes refractive optics, a focus mechanism, a filter wheel, a charge-coupled device (CCD) sensor and associated electronics. The only external indication of which camera is which is that the front baffle opening for the Mastcam 100 is smaller than the front baffle opening of the Mastcam 34.

The Mars Science Laboratory mission is in assembly and testing for launch in autumn 2011 and delivering a rover named Curiosity to Mars in summer 2012.