On the third flight of a NASA Ingenuity Mars helicopter on April 25, the Perseverance craft captured the historic moment. Therefore, the engineers decided to make the trip in 3D so that they could view the panorama from a first-person perspective.
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The Mastcam-Z’s zoom imager and dual camera provides viewing from the rover’s ‘head’.
This camera allowed the public to see and follow the daily discoveries of the robot, and it was also imperative for engineers and scientists to be aware of the underlying data and select interesting rocks to study.
Justin Mackie, an imaging scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, led the team that put the images together into one video. The frames have been re-projected to improve rendering in engraving, or display a hologram when viewed with tinted filter glasses (same as when going to movies).
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This is the first time that a true 3D video has been created of a vehicle flying to Mars. “I inherited the Mastcam-Z’s video capability from the MARDI (Mars Descent Imaging) camera at the Mars Science Laboratory,” Mackie said.
“The reuse of this ability in a new mission by obtaining a 3D video of a helicopter flying over the surface of Mars is amazing,” he added. The helicopter videos are the longest-running 3D video ever from Team Mastcam-Z.
People tasked with driving the rover and operating a robotic arm use a more sophisticated 3D system to understand exactly how objects are positioned on Mars. According to McKee, team members were also viewing 3D still images of the vehicle’s layout.
“Helicopter flying over Mars heralds a new era for Mars exploration. It is a wonderful demonstration of a new technology for exploration.”
With information from NASA.
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