It’s no secret that the Perseverance Rover has been making headlines since its successful landing on Mars on February 18, 2021. As the latest addition to NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, Perseverance is equipped with a suite of scientific instruments designed to study the geology and astrobiology of the Red Planet. But one question that has been on people’s minds is whether or not Perseverance has a video camera.
What is Perseverance Rover?
Before we dive into that, let’s take a quick refresher on what the Perseverance Rover is all about. The rover is the size of a small car and weighs about 2,260 pounds (1,025 kilograms).
It was launched from Earth on July 30, 2020, and traveled over 293 million miles (472 million kilometers) to reach Mars. Its mission is to search for signs of ancient microbial life, study the planet’s climate and geology, collect samples for future return to Earth, and pave the way for human exploration of Mars.
Perseverance Rover Cameras
Perseverance has a total of 23 cameras onboard – more than any other interplanetary mission in history. These cameras serve various purposes such as navigation, hazard avoidance, scientific analysis, and public outreach. However, none of them are dedicated video cameras in the traditional sense.
The closest thing Perseverance has to a video camera is its Mastcam-Z instrument. This camera system consists of two cameras mounted on a mast that can take high-resolution color images and up to 3D panoramas of the Martian landscape. While it cannot capture continuous video footage like a movie camera, it can take rapid-fire images at up to 10 frames per second which can be stitched together later to create a video-like effect.
Another camera that can capture motion is the SuperCam instrument, which uses a laser to vaporize rocks and study their chemical composition. This instrument has a camera mounted on it that can record the laser shots in real-time. While this footage is not exactly what most people would consider “video,” it does provide a dynamic look at the rock samples being studied.
In conclusion, while the Perseverance Rover does not have a traditional video camera, it does have several cameras that can capture motion in different ways. The Mastcam-Z can take rapid-fire images that can be stitched together to create a video-like effect, while the SuperCam’s camera records real-time footage of its laser shots. So while we may not get to see continuous footage of Perseverance’s journey on Mars, we will still be able to get some pretty amazing views of the Red Planet thanks to its impressive camera suite.