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Old May 2 2010, 12:15 AM   #1
Location: New York City
James Cameron convinced NASA to buy a 3-D camera for its Mars mission

Cameron convinced NASA to buy a 3-D camera for Curiosity. It will sit on top of the rover's mast - even though a mast camera, without 3-D capabilities, had already been built and was delivered to JPL this month.
The camera is so advanced that "as you're driving, you could make a movie," states Joy Crisp, JPL deputy project scientist on Mars Science Laboratory. Now listed as a co-investor on the project, Cameron is taking great pains to see if the camera will be ready by launch, which is set for 2011.

The article title is somewhat misleading:
James Cameron To Shoot A 3-D Film On The Surface Of Mars
Apr 30, 2010

It was only earlier this week FreezeC77
was worried he would never see a film not shot on Earth, well...a fictional film. I brought up:
jefferiestubes8 wrote: View Post
You can be assured the next time we go to the moon or an asteroid or a manned mission to Mars there will be multiple high definition cameras shooting science documentaries.
Now the question is how will James Cameron get motion capture technology into NASA for some future stuff like the man's first steps on Mars with motion capture dots all over the spacesuit and half a dozen cameras on the ship capturing the data in 2040?

A 3-D Mars science documentary is obviously down the road. Now how about allowing the moviegoing public live 3-D images from Mars for 2 minutes before every 3-D digital cinema movie?
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Old May 2 2010, 12:25 AM   #2
Robert Maxwell
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Re: James Cameron convinced NASA to buy a 3-D camera for its Mars miss

Mocap it used for CGI. Since we'd be shooting actual documentaries on Mars, there's no need for the mocap!!

This sounds pretty epic though. Won't there be issues transmitting such high-def video back to Earth?
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Old May 2 2010, 12:37 AM   #3
Data Holmes
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Re: James Cameron convinced NASA to buy a 3-D camera for its Mars miss

So, 3D High Def documentary on the surface of mars in IMAX... I'd go see it.
Not all who wonder, are lost.
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Old May 2 2010, 08:35 AM   #4
Owain Taggart
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Re: James Cameron convinced NASA to buy a 3-D camera for its Mars miss

This is pretty timely. I'm currently reading Return to Mars by Ben Bova, and in it, they have VR headsets that they use to film things similar to what's being proposed here. They even have gloves that sends tactile feedback.
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Old May 2 2010, 03:58 PM   #5
Location: New York City
Re: James Cameron convinced NASA to buy a 3-D camera for its Mars miss

Data Holmes wrote: View Post
So, 3D High Def documentary on the surface of mars in IMAX... I'd go see it.
We are talking stereoscopic high definition specifically:
Currently the plan is to work on a 34mm fixed focal length flight camera. The Mastcams will be used to image the area around Curiosity as well as the distant horizon.
The camera will be mounted atop Curiosity, the next rover mission to Mars set for launch next year.
More info on the JPL webpage for the rover's Telecommunications:
Two Science Cameras (MastCam, ChemCam): Mast Camera will take color images, three-dimensional stereo images, and color video footage of the martian terrain and have a powerful zoom lens.
Like the cameras on the Mars Exploration Rovers that landed on the red planet in 2004, the MastCam design consists of two duplicate camera systems mounted on a mast extending upward from the Mars Science Laboratory rover deck. The cameras function much like human eyes, producing three-dimensional stereo images by combining two side-by-side images taken from slightly different positions.
and more info
This one, called Mastcam 100, offers telephoto capability while the other, Mastcam 34, offers a wider-angle view. Each can provide color images and high-definition video, and they can be combined for stereo views.
there are 2 images of the camera at this link with a Swiss Army Knife next to them for size reference.
In addition to the MastCam there are other 3-D cameras but not color:
The rover has ten "eyes." Six engineering cameras aid in rover navigation and four cameras perform science investigations.
Four Engineering Hazcams (Hazard Avoidance Cameras):
Mounted on the lower portion of the front and rear of the rover, these black-and-white cameras will use visible light to capture three-dimensional (3-D) imagery.
Two Engineering Navcams (Navigation Cameras):Mounted on the mast (the rover "neck and head"), these black-and-white cameras will use visible light to gather panoramic, three-dimensional (3D) imagery. The navigation camera unit is a stereo pair of cameras, each with a 45-degree field of view that will support ground navigation planning by scientists and engineers.
One Descent Imager (MARDI):
MARDI (Mars Descent Imager) will provide five frame-per-second video at a high resolution.
The camera also uses an identical detector, a Kodak KAI-2020CM interline transfer CCD with 1600 by 1200 active 7.4-micrometer square pixels. Red/green/blue (RGB) color imaging similar to the colors the human eye sees (twice as much green as red and blue) is achieved using filtered microlenses arranged in a Bayer pattern.
at a rate of 4.5 frames per second
An 8 Gbyte internal buffer permits the camera to acquire over 4,000 raw frames (equivalent to 800 seconds of descent, which is many times the actual descent duration).
The MARDI is going to be the real high quality images during the descent. At this link is a photo of the camera next to a Swiss Army Knife for reference.
One Science Hand Lens (MAHLI): With this new device, earthbound geologists will be able to see martian features smaller than the diameter of a human hair.
launch in autumn 2011 and delivering a rover named Curiosity to Mars in summer 2012.
interestingly NASA or at least the JPL was planning on this 4 years ago.
Pasadena's Jet Propulsion Laboratory scaled back its plans in 2007 to mount a 3-D camera atop Curiosity because the upcoming flagship mission to Mars was consistently over budget and behind schedule.
source 2 source3

A 34mm fixed focal length camera is the equivalent of a consumer point & shoot camera (without a zoom lens) which means unless the Curiosity rover is near any rocks within 25 feet the 3-D will not give too much depth. As Captain Rob mentioned on the Star Trek 2012 in 3D, Yes or No? thread:
Captain Rob wrote: View Post
The benefit for 3-D is for action that is close to the camera. Just like in real life. Depth perception from our two eyes is only usable out to about 20 feet. Beyond that range the image offset between our eyes isn't perceptable.
it should be noted though that the color 3-D lens for the top of the mast
While the Curiosity team is unsure whether the new camera will be ready in time, they are eagerly anticipating the camera's potential to record Martian movies at a rate of 10 frames per second, reported the Star-News.

Last edited by jefferiestubes8; May 2 2010 at 04:33 PM.
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