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Panoramic Camera (Pancam)

NSSDCA ID: 2003-032A-01

Mission Name: Opportunity
Principal Investigators:Prof. James F Bell, III
Principal Investigators:Dr. Steven W. Squyres


The Panoramic Camera (Pancam) is a pair of high-resolution CCD imagers mounted on the Pancam Mast Assembly. The imagers are side-by-side on a "camera bar" to allow stereo imaging. They are separated by 30 cm horizontally and have a one degree toe-in, giving stereo coverage from roughly 5 to 100 meters. Each camera's optics consists of a protective sapphire window and 3-element symmetrical lenses with an effective focal length of 38 mm and a focal ratio of f/20, giving a field of view of 16.8 x 16.8 degrees, or 0.28 mrad/pixel. Optimal focus is from 1.5 meters to infinity. Each camera has an eight position filter wheel giving multispectral imaging capability in the 400-1100 nm range. The left camera has one clear filter and a set of filters at: 750 nm (+-20 nm range), 670 (20), 600 (20), 530 (20), 480 (25), 430 (short-pass filter), and a 440 nm solar filter. The right camera filters are 430 (short-pass), 750 (20), 800 (20), 860 (25), 900 (25), 930 (30), 980 (long-pass), and an 880 nm solar filter.

The mast can rotate 360 degrees to give full panoramic views and the camera bar can swing up and down 180 degrees, with pointing control better than 2 degrees in azimuth and 1 degree in elevation. The mast holds the camera about 1.3 meters above the surface. Images are captured on a 1024 x 2048 pixel Mitel CCD array, one 1024 x 1024 pixel region constituting the active imaging area and the other 1024 x 1024 pixels acting as a frame transfer buffer. Mosaics as large as 4000 by 24000 pixels can be generated. Exposure times up to 30 sec are possible. Signal to noise ratio is greater than 200. A target is carried on the rover for calibration of the cameras during the mission. There is also a vertical post to cast a shadow on parts of the target during calibration. The cameras have a mass of about 270 grams each.

Alternate Names

  • Opportunity/Pancam
  • Pancam

Funding Agency

  • NASA-Office of Space Science Applications (United States)


  • Planetary Science: Geology and Geophysics

Additional Information

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



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Prof. Raymond E. ArvidsonDeputy Principal InvestigatorWashington
Prof. James F Bell, IIILead InvestigatorCornell
Dr. Steven W. SquyresPrincipal InvestigatorCornell

Selected References

  • Bell, J. F., III, et al., Mars Exploration Rover Athena Panoramic Camera (Pancam) investigation, J. Geophys. Res., 108, No. E12, 8063, doi:10.1029/2003JE002070, 2003.
  • Bell, J. F., III, et al., Pancam multispectral imaging results from the Opportunity Rover at Meridiani Planum, Science, 306, No. 5702, 1703-1709, Dec. 2004.
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