NIR Camera

Near Infra-Red multispectral Camera

Objective: Construct an equivalent MER PANCAM from readily available commercial parts for use of science and study of Earth’s atmosphere and geological features.

NIR Camera

MER Pancam – Overview


  • A pair of high resolution, stereo, color CCD cameras present in Spirit and Opportunity Mars Exploration Rovers (MERs) to obtain panoramic multispectral images of the Martian sky and surface.
  • Geology/Geomorphology: Past history of a landing site by generating a panoramic view of the surrounding terrain spanning full 360 degrees. It also provides fine-scale geological information of rock and soil attributes on the Martian terrain.
  • Color/composition: The multispectral capability of the camera helps in determining the soil mineralogy, the various weathering processes that could have affected the terrain and the determination of suitable target spots for further research.
  • Photometry: It helps in obtaining physical properties of the terrain such as grain size and roughness by exploiting the reflectance properties of rocks and soils by choosing appropriate incidence and emission angles.
  • Sun/Sky imaging: To monitor dust and cloud opacity.

Camera Comparison:

Point Grey Grasshopper Camera Key Specifications:

  • GRAS-14S5M/C ICX285 2/3” (EXView HAD)
  • Power Consumption: 3.1W
  • Mass: 104g (without optics)
  • Operating Temp: 0 deg C to 40 deg C
  • The corresponding focal length for ICX285 required to obtain an angular resolution of 0.28mrad/pixel is 23mm.
Sensor size 2/3” 1”
Pixel Size 6um 12um
Maximum  Resolution 1384×1036 1024×1024
Wavelengths for spectral sensitivity > 0.5 400nm – 760nm 580nm – 900nm
Spectral sensitivity at 1000nm 0.06 0.2

NIR Camera Field Testing

NIR Camera mounted on NASA's K10 rover for field testing

NIR False Color Image

NIR false color panorama image taken at NASA AMES facility in CA.

NIR false color with plant life highlighted panorama image taken at NASA AMES facility in CA.


SP crater data

The data collected using this camera in SP crater, Flagstaff, Arizona can be found here