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The Mars Science Laboratory Engineering Cameras

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NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Rover is equipped with a set of 12 engineering cameras. These cameras are build-to-print copies of the Mars Exploration Rover cameras described in Maki et al. (J. Geophys. Res. 108(E12): 8071, 2003). Images returned from the engineering cameras will be used to navigate the rover on the Martian surface, deploy the rover robotic arm, and ingest samples into the rover sample processing system. The Navigation cameras (Navcams) are mounted to a pan/tilt mast and have a 45-degree square field of view (FOV) with a pixel scale of 0.82 mrad/pixel. The Hazard Avoidance Cameras (Hazcams) are body-mounted to the rover chassis in the front and rear of the vehicle and have a 124-degree square FOV with a pixel scale of 2.1 mrad/pixel. All of the cameras utilize a 1024×1024 pixel detector and red/near IR bandpass filters centered at 650 nm. The MSL engineering cameras are grouped into two sets of six: one set of cameras is connected to rover computer “A” and the other set is connected to rover computer “B”. The Navcams and Front Hazcams each provide similar views from either computer. The Rear Hazcams provide different views from the two computers due to the different mounting locations of the “A” and “B” Rear Hazcams. This paper provides a brief description of the engineering camera properties, the locations of the cameras on the vehicle, and camera usage for surface operations.

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This work was performed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with NASA. The authors thank the two anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments and suggestions.

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Correspondence to J. Maki.

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Maki, J., Thiessen, D., Pourangi, A. et al. The Mars Science Laboratory Engineering Cameras. Space Sci Rev 170, 77–93 (2012).

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