Advancements in camera technology have taken a huge leap since the Mars rover that landed in 1997, Tech.co reports. The latest smartphones can produce higher-resolution images than past rover cameras.
“Camera technology keeps improving,” said Justin Maki of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab.
The cameras will be able to create sweeping panoramas, reveal obstacles, study the atmosphere, and assist scientific instruments. They will be the first to capture the descent onto another planet. There will also be a camera inside the rover to study samples as they are gathered and “left on the surface for collection by a future mission.”
Previous rover cameras could only produce 1-megapixel images in black and white. Now the cameras will be able to acquire high-resolution, 20-megapixel color images. In comparison, the new iPhone X camera is 12 MP and the front facing is 7 MP.
The lenses will also have a wider field of view, which means less time panning, snapping pictures, and stitching them together, and a less motion blur while the rover is moving.