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Sample Image Through Camera Built for Next Mars Rover

Sample Image Through Camera Built for Next Mars Rover

Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, delivered the two cameras for the Mast Camera (Mastcam) instrument of NASA Mars Science Laboratory rover to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., in March 2011. The two cameras are identical except for each having a different focal length. During post-transportation instrument checkout in a cleanroom at JPL, the 34-millimeter focal length camera, called Mastcam 34, was used to take this picture of Mastcam Principal Investigator Michael Malin and a test target derived from the "1951 U. S. Air Force Resolution Chart." The test target can be used to determine the spatial resolution of the camera as a function of contrast, a standardized test to demonstrate that the camera is functioning properly and that the optics have not experienced any change during transport to JPL. In this image, the camera is demonstrating a resolution of about 4.5 line pairs per millimeter (9 pixels per millimeter, or about 111 micrometers per pixel) at a distance of 2 meters (6.6 feet).

The other camera delivered for the Mastcam instrument has a 100-millimeter focal length for telephoto capability. 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.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

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