Friday, March 26, 2010

Hi-def Movies from Mars?

The Mars Science Laboratory originally was to have two cameras (for stereo imaging) that would both be capable of zooming and taking high definition movies.  In 2007, the zoom feature was removed in favor of two fixed focal length cameras, one moderately telescopic and one wide angle.  Now, with a push from movie producer James Cameron (who is a co-investigator on the MSL cameras), NASA is trying to restore the full zoom capability.  You can read the details at the Air & Space magazine website (Cameron's Camera).  Cameron already has experience making movies with remotely operated cameras.

A quote from the article gives us an idea of what the restored cameras might provide us: “The camera is looking down at the Mars rover... You can see the sample arm off to one side, and we pan up and see Mars in front of us. We’re rolling slowly along the surface. We pan back slowly so we see Mars going by, then look back at the tracks of the rover going off to the horizon behind us—in 3-D.”

Thanks to Emily Elakdawalla for the pointer to the article from her tweet.