James Cameron Designs 3D Camera for Mars Rover
When James Cameron talked to Popular Mechanics about Avatar‘s theatrical rerelease and the 3D backlash, he couldn’t help slipping in some info on a project he’s particularly excited about—designing a stereoscopic camera for the Mars Science Laboratory, launching Fall 2011.
By Erin McCarthy
By next fall, James Cameron won’t just be planet Earth’s most accomplished director—he’ll be top cineophile on Mars, too. The Oscar-winning director is collaborating with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and Malin Space Science Systems to help design a stereoscopic camera rig that will travel on the Mars Science Laboratory to our red neighbor. “I’m on the team that’s building the mast cam,” Cameron tells Popular Mechanics during an interview about the theatrical rerelease of Avatar.
The Mars Science Laboratory, launching in Fall 2011, will explore a site that may have supported microbial life in the past. The rover—also known as Curiosity—will use new technologies to adjust its flight while descending to the surface; the platform will have 10 times the mass of instruments on previous rovers. It’s designed to traverse rougher terrain and will have a new surface propulsion system. Initially scheduled to launch in Fall 2009, hardware issues discovered in late 2008 caused NASA to push the launch back.
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