In the history of cosmonautics another breakthrough is preparing – a new rover that will arrive on Mars in 2020, will receive an unprecedented number of cameras. Impressive is not only the quantity (23 pieces), but also the performance – if Navios and Hazcams had a resolution of 1 megapixel on Curiosity, similar Mars 2020 devices will receive 20 Mp. This will give the opportunity to conduct panoramic shooting, rather than stitching the disparate pictures into one.
The Mastcam-Z camera is designed for three-dimensional shooting, it has a stereoscopic “vision” and a special zoom module 3: 1, this will allow you to make travel notes and look at the landscapes of Mars in advance to choose where to go. This became possible with the introduction into the orbit of the red planet of the repeater apparatus Mars Odyssey and the development of new communication systems.
The SuperCam Remote Micro-Imager is a thermal imaging camera that can take pictures in color. CacheCam will allow to study samples of rocks collected by the rover. Lander Vision System uses machine learning to navigate the terrain. The SkyCam camera monitors the atmosphere of Mars, six more cameras will monitor the descent and landing of the rover on the planet.
The increase in the number of cameras on board the rover is a direct result of the development of the two branches of technology. First, the camera modules themselves became much more compact and economical than a few years ago. Secondly, the bandwidth of communication channels has increased tenfold. When developing the same Mars Odyssey transponder, the engineers laid the indicator at 10 Mbit on the salt (Martian day), and in fact received more than 100 Mbit. And this opens up incredible prospects in the study of Mars.