NASA had every intention of building a 3D camera for the next robotic rover to be sent to Mars. Movie director James Cameron has been helping to upgrade the camera on the Mars Science Laboratory rover, called Curiosity, into a 3D camera before it launches into space later thsi year. Unfortunately, time simply ran short and NASA made the call to scrap the project and ship Curiosity as-is.
"With the Mastcam that was installed last year and the rover's other instruments, Curiosity can accomplish its ambitious research goals," said Mars Science Laboratory Project Scientis John Grotzinger. "The possibility for an upgrade was very much worth pursuing, but time became too short for the levels of testing that would be needed for them to confidently replace the existing cameras."
The existing cameras installed on Curiosity are setup for high definition color video and will take pictures of the Martian surface as well as distant objects, ComputerWorld reports . While that takes place, development of a 3D camera is still underway for use in future missions.
Image Credit: NASA