Imager for Mars Pathfinder experiment (IMP): A multispectral stereo imaging system

Peter H. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


On Independence Day 1997 Mars Pathfinder bounced to a stop on the Ares-Tiu Vallis floodplain and began returning the first pictures from the surface of Mars in 20 years. The IMP camera took panoramas first in a stowed position (about seated height) and after day 2 from a deployed height of 1.85 m (about standing height). The eye separation of the stereoscopic camera (15 cm) allowed a humanistic view of the surrounding terrain. Months of calibration payed off in producing color images with the 5 visible filters; color was extended into the near IR with 10 additional filters three of which were doubled on each eye for stereo views. Because of low data rates from the direct transmission to Earth, the resolution was limited to 1 mrad/pixel and the FOV was fixed at 14 degrees square. The pointing motors allowed the camera to point in any direction and a complete panorama required 120 images per color. The mission lasted 83 sols (martian days of 24 hours and 39 minutes) and returned over 16,000 image frames. The science goals included contour mapping the site to study the geomorphology and multispectral imaging to sort out the mineralogy of the rocks and soils. In addition, the camera was used to help guide the Sojourner rover using virtual reality visualization techniques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-9
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes
EventStereoscopic Displays and Virtual Reality Systems V - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 26 1998Jan 29 1998


  • Mars Pathfinder
  • Multispectral camera
  • Stereoscopic display

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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