mars 2020 vision pia23314 1024x768 1On this picture, engineers take a look at cameras on the highest of the Mars 2020 rover’s mast and entrance chassis. The picture was taken on July 23, 2019, within the Spacecraft Meeting Facility’s Excessive Bay 1 at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Mars 2020 rover has been been given an uncommon eye examination to check the cameras it can use to “see” and navigate across the Martian floor. There are numerous cameras on board the rover for various functions, together with two Navcams, 4 Hazcams, the SuperCam and two Mastcam-Z cameras mounted to the rover’s central mast.

The Navcams, because the identify suggests, are for navigation and gathering 3D panoramic info so the rover can discover the most effective route by way of the tough Martian terrain. These cameras additionally work alongside the Hazcams, that are a part of the rover’s self-driving system for avoiding hazards.  The SuperCam is for the scientific investigation of rock and soil samples, and the Mastcam-Zs are for observing rocks and sediment throughout the rover’s area of view, which might assist collect helpful geological information.

As a way to take a look at that the cameras have been working appropriately, the NASA engineers used a picture testing board lined in a grid of dots, which you’ll see above on the appropriate facet of the picture. The testing board is positioned at completely different distances away from the rover, from one meter to 40 meters, and the engineers take a look at whether or not the cameras seize the dots with the required decision and accuracy.

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“We examined each digicam on the entrance of the rover chassis and likewise these mounted on the mast,” Justin Maki, chief engineer for imaging and the imaging scientist for Mars 2020 at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, stated in a press release. “Characterizing the geometric alignment of all these imagers is necessary for driving the car on Mars, working the robotic arm and precisely concentrating on the rover’s laser.”

The JPL staff nonetheless wants to check the cameras on the again of the rover and the one on the tip of its turret, which is scheduled to occur within the subsequent few weeks. All of this preparation is getting the rover prepared throughout its final yr of engineering earlier than launch, deliberate for July 2020.