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Curiosity's Many Cameras

By Andrew Baglini
July 22, 2013; 12:26 PM

One of the things that's so exciting about the Curiosity mission is that the rover takes so many pictures. The Curiosity rover actually has 17 cameras on it, which is the most of any NASA planetary mission ever. The MARDI, or the Mars Descent Imager, is what took pictures as the rover was landing on Mars. There's the MAHLI instrument, which is the camera mounted on the end of the arm, and that takes close-up, high-resolution color photos. There are eight hazard avoidance cameras, or the HazCams. There are four of these in the front and four in the back, and they're used to take pictures of the terrain near the wheels and nearby the rover.

Up on the mast, there are the cameras that take most of the pictures for the mission. There are navigation cameras, which take pictures that are used to drive the rover. The remote microscopic imager, which is part of the ChemCam laser instrument. And that's used to document the laser spots, that the rover makes on the surface.

The rover has 2 different types of cameras. Some cameras only take black and white or greyscale pictures, because that's all the rover really needs in order to detect rocks and other obstacles. Other cameras are color, such as the Mastcam imager, and they are what scientists use to learn about the soil and the rocks.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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