Peppermint Prickly Pear Pavers

Flying over Rover Tracks on Peppermint Prickly Pear Pavers [NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS/JR]

Contributed by Gerhard Paar

This overflight rendering released on the Mastcam-Z Youtube Channel is one of my favorites, as it shows the dynamics of the mission with rover tracks distributed in multiple orientations, and the Mastcam-Z camera’s 3D capabilities to dig into the details of the wheels’ imprints, their 3D structure, and at the same time offering the scientific context of the “Peppermint Prickly Pears Pavers” formation.

During its 46th sol on Mars, the Perseverance Mastcam-Z stereo camera system captured 110-mm focal length stereo image sequences from this formation, about 4 meters in diameter. It shows Perseverance’s wheel tracks and dives down to the pebbles smashed into Martian fine-grained soil by the Rover’s weight (even in Mars gravity three times less than on Earth) – main parts of the gravel got completely hidden, “baked” under dust. 

We were using purely the “fixed baseline” stereo from Mastcam-Z’s left and right eye, which causes some dropouts due to economic downlink data rate handling. Whilst this adds some more 3D processing complexity to fill it later by using further data redundancies, the black stripes of missing portions give some additional 3D space experience when dynamically viewed.

Like the Sol3 overflight video, this has become one of my favorite “overflight” scenes. However, this one is the first Mastcam-Z virtual overflight with soundtrack added (using tracks from one of my own compositions)! 

Hopefully this jingle shall also remain stuck in your head:

Mars in 3-D…


Mars in 3-D…


April 7, 2021

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