LOS ANGELES, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- NASA's Mars 2020 rover, which is equipped with visionary science instruments, underwent an "eye" exam after the installation of several cameras on it, according to the latest release of the space agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
The rover contains an armada of imaging capabilities, from wide-angle landscape cameras to narrow-angle high-resolution zoom lens cameras.
"We completed the machine-vision calibration of the forward-facing cameras on the rover," said Justin Maki, chief engineer for imaging and the imaging scientist for Mars 2020 at the JPL. "This measurement is critical for accurate stereo vision, which is an important capability of the vehicle."
The Mars 2020 team imaged target boards featuring grids of dots, which were placed at distances ranging from 1 to 40 meters away to perform the calibration, said the JPL. The target boards were used to make sure that the cameras meet the project's requirements for resolution and geometric accuracy.
Two Navcams, four Hazcams, the SuperCam and the two Mastcam-Z cameras were included in the test.
"We tested every camera on the front of the rover chassis and also those mounted on the mast," said Maki. "Characterizing the geometric alignment of all these imagers is important for driving the vehicle on Mars, operating the robotic arm and accurately targeting the rover's laser."
In the next few weeks, the imagers on the back of the rover body and on the turret at the end of the rover's arm will undergo similar calibration, according to the JPL.
The Mars 2020 rover is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida in July 2020. It is expected to land at Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021.
The rover will be the first spacecraft in the history of planetary exploration with the ability to accurately retarget its point of touchdown during the landing sequence, which could prove essential to future manned missions to the Moon and Mars, said the JPL.