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Super/High-Resolution Stereo Color Imager (HRSC)

NSSDCA ID: 2003-022A-01

Mission Name: Mars Express
Principal Investigator:Dr. Gerhard Neukum


The High-Resolution Stereoscopic Camera (HRSC) is designed to provide color stereo imaging at multiple phase angles at high resolution and to provide global coverage of Mars. Scientific objectives are to characterize surface morphology, topography, and geological evolution, to identify geologic units, to help refine the geodetic control network, and to analyze atmospheric phenomena including climatology, the role of water, and surface/atmosphere interactions. The goal is to map 100% of Mars' surface at resolution better than 30 m/pixel, and 50% of the surface at better than 15 m/pixel, to profile the characteristics of past, present, and future landing sites, to map potential resources, and to make observations of the martian moons Phobos and Deimos.

HRSC is derived from the Russian Mars-96 mission. The camera head consists of a regular lens which can provide 10 meter/pixel resolution at an altitude of 250 km and a super-resolution lens and channel at 2.3 meters/pixel. Both lenses feed into a digital unit which includes a camera control processor, data compression and interface electronics, power supply and heater control. The regular camera operates as a linescan imager, each of nine CCD lines, or channels, containing 5184 pixels. The channels consist of red, green, blue, near-infrared, three stereo channels (backward, nadir, and forward) and two photometric channels. The lines are situated perpendicular to the direction of spacecraft motion. The imager is a push-broom scanning device. Each read-out samples all 9 lines and occurs at variable frequency adjusted to the ground velocity of the spacecraft to create nine full image swaths.

The super-resolution channel uses a 1024 x 1032 pixel CCD to provide area-exposure images. At 250 km, the image will be 2.35 km on a side. The two imagers will function simultaneously. Images will be taken for about 40 minutes around pericenter and transmitted back to Earth (after compression) during the rest of the orbit.

Alternate Names

  • HRSC
  • MarsExpress/HRSC
  • urn:esa:psa:context:instrument:mex.hrsc

Facts in Brief

Mass: 21.2 kg


  • Planetary Science: Atmospheres
  • Planetary Science: Geology and Geophysics

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this experiment can be directed to: Dr. David R. Williams



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Dr. Gerhard NeukumPrincipal Investigator

Selected References

  • Neukum, G., and R. Jaumann, HRSC: the High Resolution Stereo Camera of Mars Express, in Mars Express: The Scientific Payload, A. Wilson Ed., ESA SP-1240, European Space Agency Publications Division, Noordwijk, Netherlands, ISBN 92-9092-556-6, pp. 17-35, 2004.
  • Neukum, G., et al., The experiments HRSC and WAOSS on the Russian Mars 94/96 missions, Acta Astronaut., 38, 713-720, doi:10.1016/0094-5765(96)00084-7, May 1996.
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