NASA has released a mosaic of images captured by the Curiosity Rover’s Mast Camera (Mastcam) instrument which shows Mars’ three-mile-high Mount Sharp.
Curiosity’s MastCam instrument is used to capture color images and video footage of the Mars terrain. It consists of two separate cameras with different focal lengths and different color filters. One camera has a ~34 mm focal length, f/8 lens that illuminates a 15° square field-of-view (FOV), 1,200 x 1,200 pixels on the 1,600 x 1,200 pixel detector and the other has a ~100 mm focal length, f/10 lens that illuminates a 5.1° square, 1,200 x 1,200 pixel FOV. The images shown here were captured by the 100-millimeter camera mounted on the right side of the Mastcam.
MastCam also features a KAI-2020 1,600 x 1,200 pixel interline transfer CCD image sensor from Truesense Imaging. The camera captures images in full color at more than four full resolution images per second, as well as full-color 720p HD video (1,280 x 720 pixels) at a frame rate of 10 fps.
Mount Sharp, also known as Aeolis Mons, is a layered mound in the center of Mars’ Gale Crater. The "mountain" rises more than three miles above the crater floor, where the Curiosity Rover has been working since landing in August 2012. The lower slopes of Mount Sharp are a major focus point of the mission, but prior to exploring that area; the rover will first spend many more weeks around a Martian location known as "Yellowknife Bay," where it has found evidence of a past environment that may have supported microbial life, according to NASA.
The impressive images released by NASA are a mosaic assembled from dozens of images captured by the right-side Mastcam camera. The images were taken during the 45th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity’s mission on Mars (September 20, 2012.)
NASA’s Curiosity rover was deployed to assess ancient habitable environments and major changes in Martial environmental conditions. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory built the rover and manages the project for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Curiosity's Mastcam was built and is operated by Malin Space Science Systems.
See other articles from our June 9 e-newsletter.
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