Press Release: Avian Technologies Standards Land on Mars
NASA’s Mars 2020 mission successfully landed the Perseverance Rover on February 18. Among its many tools, the rover contains two color cameras - collectively named Mastcam-Z - which provide mission scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory with images of the planet. These images will help to further our understanding of Mars’ geology, climate, and history and help pave the way for future human exploration.
In order to process images taken in Mars’ dusty, low-light atmosphere, the camera assembly contains two calibration targets containing reflectance standards in black, white, and a variety of colors and greys. Scientists reference the targets to adjust Mastcam-Z’s images to reflect accurate colors and brightness. The primary calibration target, which was designed by the Mastcam-Z team at Arizona State University and produced at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, contains three AluWhite98 reflectance standards provided by Avian Technologies.
The AluWhite98 standards were selected by the Neils Bohr Institute in collaboration with materials technology company Lucideon (www.lucideon.com), who provided the color standards for the target. Avian Technologies worked closely in cooperation with Lucideon, building on the two companies’ long history of collaboration, to determine the best materials for the harsh environment and demanding needs of the mission.
Dave Wyble, Director of Color Science for Avian Technologies and president and founder of Avian Rochester, LLC, says of the project: “The color characterization standards used on Perseverance were subjected to the rigorous testing that all materials used in space must pass. We are happy that our AluWhite98 met both the difficult physical requirements, as well as the color and spectroscopic testing which established that it will ensure an accurate characterization for the camera. By enabling accurate color image capture, we will be helping improve the scientific understanding of the Martian surface. Also, and hardly less important, the improved imagery will help feed the curiosity and interest of the folks back home, including the next generation of scientists.”
Details of the mission can be found at https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/ and more information on the colour swatches and calibration at https://mars.nasa.gov/resources/25433/mastcam-zs-calibration-target/
More information about AluWhite98, as well as Avian Technologies’ wide range of optical standards and equipment for measuring light, can be found at aviantechnologies.com. In addition to their own standards, Avian Technologies offers Lucideon ceramic color standard tiles for sale within the US.