Avatar director helps next Rover mission to film Mars in 3D

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Avatar director James Cameron has persuaded NASA to let him help design a high-resolution 3D camera for the next Mars Rover.

The planned Curiosity Rover mission, set for launch next year, was originally intended to have a 3D camera, but plans were scaled back for budgetary reasons.

But according to the Pasadena Star News,  Cameron  persuaded NASA administrator Charles Bolden to include one after all, convincing him that it would heighten public interest in the mission.

"He actually was really open to the idea," Cameron said. "Our first meeting went very well."

The camera will sit on top of Curiosity's mast, although this will mean some pretty fast work, as the mast has already been completed, without 3D capabilities. It will be constructed by Malin Space Science Systems, which built the existing cameras installed on the mast.

The camera will film at ten frames a second. Avatar fans may be a little disappointed, as there are currently believed to be no peaceable blue aliens living on Mars, but the scientists are excited.

"You could take a movie and image clouds moving in the sky or a dust devil moving," said Joy Crisp, JPL deputy project scientist at Mars Science Laboratory. "As you're driving, you could take a movie."