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B.C. company’s cameras capture spectacular images of Mars rover landing

Click to play video: 'Richmond company goes to Mars' Richmond company goes to Mars
Global's Ted Chernecki talked to the Richmond company whose cameras gave us those spectacular pictures of the Mars Perseverance rover landing on the red planet – Feb 23, 2021

If you saw any of those spectacular images of NASA’s Perseverance rover touching down on Mars you can thank a Richmond, B.C., company.

Pictures of the landing were captured by cameras designed and built by FLIR Systems.

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NASA releases 1st video of Perseverance rover landing on Mars – Feb 22, 2021

Sadiq Panjwani of FLIR Systems said the cameras on entry, descent and landing modules for the Perseverance project had a resolution of 1.2 megapixels or 3.2 megapixels, well below the standards of cameras on most smartphones.

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NASA’s Perseverance Rover successfully lands on the surface of Mars – Feb 18, 2021

“They wanted something that can capture images really, really fast at a very high frame rate,” Panjwani explained. “And they wanted it in a certain resolution that when they slow it down, they don’t lose the information.”

Read more: NASA’s Perseverance rover sends back ‘stunning’ images after landing on Mars

Those cameras captured dramatic images, including the deployment of the parachute, the rover hanging below the descent vehicle and the martian dust as it hit the ground.

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Montreal-born engineer set to land Mars Rover “Perseverance” – Feb 18, 2021

FLIR Systems didn’t really modify its industrial cameras as they are already designed to be used in extreme environments, but none of them had ever been tested in near absolute zero temperatures.

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Panjwani described the company’s role in the rover landing as a career highlight.

“Absolutely excited — I was jumping, a lot of my colleagues were too,” he said of the moment when the rover touched down safely on the surface of Mars.

“There are moments in life that kind of define you.”

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