Next Mars Rover Will Have 23 'Eyes'
Enhanced engineering camerasSelection of the 23 cameras on NASA's 2020 Mars rover
3-D printed model of Mastcam-Z
A selection of the 23 cameras on NASA's 2020 Mars rover. Many are improved versions of the cameras on the Curiosity rover, with a few new additions as well. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech UPDATED AT 4:15 p.m. PDT to correct the number of EDL cameras shown in the image.
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When NASA's Mars Pathfinder touched down in 1997, it had five cameras: two on a mast that popped up from the lander, and three on NASA's first rover, Sojourner.
Since then, camera technology has taken a quantum leap. Photo sensors that were improved by the space program have become commercially ubiquitous. Cameras have shrunk in size, increased in quality and are now carried in every cellphone and laptop.
That same evolution has returned to space. NASA's Mars 2020 mission will have more "eyes" than any rover before it: a grand total of 23, to create sweeping panoramas, reveal obstacles, study the atmosphere, and assist science instruments.