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Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.

Calibrating Mars

Two colorful calibration targets will help scientists measure what the Perseverance rover sees on Mars.

How to Send a Camera to Mars

The next Martian explorer, Mars 2020, currently exists as a robotic skeleton at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Teams across the world are working diligently to construct the instruments that will adorn the rover, inside and out, and thereby give it the tools it needs to explore.

Mastcam-Z Flight Hardware!

After a more-than-four-year adventure, the flight Mars 2020 rover Mastcam-Z cameras have been fully assembled!

Mastcam-Z Team Blog: A Special Team Photomosaic

Mastcam-Z will help the Mars 2020 rover explore the surface of Mars. Dozens of amazing scientists and engineers from across the globe contribute to the development of Mastcam-Z. This year, the team photo was taken with our very own Mastcam-Z testbed unit.

Mastcam-Z team blog: We've got flight hardware!

Right after the last Mastcam-Z team meeting a year ago (link here to last two blog posts), our team finalized the design of the cameras, and then the fantastic voyage of creating Martian panoramic zoom cameras began.

Mastcam-Z team blog: Landing sites

It takes years to decide where a Mars rover is going to land. Members of NASA's Mars 2020's camera team describe their participation in the process.

Mastcam-Z team blog: Preparing for five-hour operations

It takes hundreds of scientists and engineers many years to design and build just one instrument for a Mars mission. In the first Mastcam-Z team blog post, we'll talk about the special challenges we expect for Mars 2020 operations, and how we're planning to overcome them.

Mars 2020 rover rolls into final design and fabrication phase

NASA's next Mars rover is rolling off the drawing board and into its final design and fabrication phase, the agency announced today, during a televised event at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory that highlighted some of the mission's technology.

Listen Up! Microphones to Fly to Mars

The Mars 2020 mission will carry microphones in its EDL package and its SuperCam instrument, which will enable us to finally hear the sounds of Mars. The Planetary Society has been trying to get microphones to Mars for 20 years and is ecstatic that these will fly.

Mastcam-Z has passed its Preliminary Design Review!

A panel of outside experts reviewed the design of the Mars 2020 rover's color cameras, and approved the progress of Mastcam-Z. It still exists only as an idea in the cloud, but it's one significant step closer to being sent to Mars.

Mastcam-Z: The Future of Stereo Imaging on Mars

An introduction to the Mastcam-Z stereo imager on the Mars 2020 rover, and brief reporting and reflections on team meetings, science instruments, and the exciting future of The Planetary Society covering the entire lifetime of this instrument, from design to Mars images.

Planetary Society Selected as Mars 2020 Camera Partner

The Planetary Society has been selected as an education outreach partner on the just-selected NASA Mars 2020 Mastcam-Z instrument, led by Jim Bell, Planetary Society Board president and Arizona State University professor.

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