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JOANNEUM RESEARCH provides technology for the NASA Mars 2020 Rover

Searching for life on Mars

Credit: MSSS/Jason Van Beek

Was Mars habitable in its ancient past?

JOANNEUM RESEARCH 3D-vision expert Gerhard Paar (Institute DIGITAL) was recently staying in California at Malin Space Science Systems (MSSS) to help geometrically calibrate the Mastcam-Z instrument of the Mars 2020 Rover. Mastcam-Z is a stereoscopic vision system consisting of two identical multispectral zoomable cameras with variable focus, mounted on the Rover mast.

The instrument, mainly developed by the Arizona State University (Prof. Jim Bell) and MSSS had been selected by NASA (among others) to photogrammetrically 3D-reconstruct the Martian surface after Mars 2020 landing. Such 3D reconstructions and following visualization are also being provided by JOANNEUM RESEARCH and research partner VRVis / Vienna. The visualizations of the reconstructed surface will enable scientists to find and analyze interesting geological structures on Mars which contain valuable hints for ancient traces of water and possible extinct life.