A downward-facing camera mounted beneath the rover, MARDI will image the ground beneath Curiosity as the rover descends to the surface, giving an aerial view of the surrounding region, as well as after the rover touches down.
Like Mastcam, MARDI (also developed by Malin) will store high-definition RGB color images in an internal 8-gigabyte buffer. Many of its first shots are likely to be blurred due to vibration as the rover descends. Even so, MARDI should capture the first-ever video-like sequence of an actual Mars landing, Ravine said.
"We’re looking forward to seeing that," he said.
Data acquired by MARDI will be used to determine exactly where Curiosity has landed, as well as provide an "astronaut’s-eye view" of Mars – although in this case the astronaut has six wheels and weighs 2,000 pounds (900 kilograms).
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