Optical design of the Mastcam-Z lenses

Blake G. Crowther, John R. Rogers, J. Michael Rodgers, Michael A. Ravine, James F. Bell, Jaques Laramee, Justin N. Maki

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Missions to Mars prior to the year 2020 have indicated that Mars once held liquid water. This may have provided an environment suitable for the existence of microbial life. The primary science mission of Mars 2020 is to explore the past habitability of Mars and to prepare and cache a set of samples for potential return to Earth by a future mission. A second mission of Mars 2020 is to demonstrate technologies that can be used for human exploration of Mars. The mission duration of Mars 2020 is 1 Mars year, 668 sols or 1.88 Earth years. To fulfill the mission of Mars 2020, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) chose to send a rover, Perseverence, to the surface of Mars. Perseverance is the latest and most sophisticated Mars rover from NASA. It was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida on July 30, 20201. After a cruise of approximately five and one-half months, it was successfully delivered to Jezero Crater on the surface of Mars on February 18, 2021. The pictures and video of its delivery were viewed with anticipation and awe around the world. However, some of us waited with equal anticipation for another moment, the posting of the first Mastcam-Z images. The Mars 2020 rover, Perseverance, includes 25 cameras, including 2 on the helicopter Ingenuity. There are 16 engineering cameras and 7 science cameras. Two of the science cameras enable the first-ever color imaging in stereo at variable magnification. These two cameras are the Mastcam-Z cameras, which are both mounted on the Remote Sensing Mast, separated by approximately 244 mm. The two Mastcam-Z cameras each make use of the first zoom lenses in interplanetary or deep space applications, which is the reason for the "Z"in the name of the camera (Mast Camera Zoom). In addition to their zoom capability, the lenses can be focused over a broad range of object distances. The optical design of these lenses is interesting in its development and deployment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Optical Design Conference 2021
EditorsPeter P. Clark, Richard N. Pfisterer, Henning Rehn, Simon Thibault
ISBN (Electronic)9781510650305
StatePublished - 2021
EventInternational Optical Design Conference 2021 - Washington, United States
Duration: Jun 27 2021Jul 1 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceInternational Optical Design Conference 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Mars
  • Optical Design
  • Perseverance
  • Zoom Lens

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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