Japan is going to Mars—and it’s taking an incredibly detailed video camera with it.
A joint venture between the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Japan’s state broadcaster NHK—which pioneered HD and Ultra HD TV technology and broadcasting—will jointly develop a “Super Hi-Vision Camera” capable of filming both 4K and 8K images for JAXA to take to Mars.
JAXA has history here; its Kaguya (Selene) lunar orbiter in 2008 produced the first high-definition HD video ever seen of the Moon.
It’s also helped produce 4K filming from the International Space Station (ISS).
Its new camera will go to Mars in 2024 as part of JAXA’s Martian Moons eXploration mission. It will be the first time that 8K Ultra HD images of Mars and its moons are taken in proximity.
What is JAXA’s Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) mission?
It’s a mission to Mars to survey the red planet’s two moons; Phobos and Deimos. The aim is to shed light on the origin of the moons and the evolutionary process of the Martian system.
It’s also an exciting “sample return” mission; JAXA’s spacecraft will explore both moons and collect a sample of “sand” from Phobos to bring back to Earth.
What is ‘Super Hi-Vision?’
Invented in Japan by NHK, Super Hi-Vision is the collective name for a 4K or 8K cinema system that—in NHK’s Broadcasting Centre in Tokyo—seeks to recreate the ability of human vision using a 10 metre by 5.5 metre screen.
Measuring 3840×2168 pixels, 8K in particular has also been called “hyperrealism” and “perfect reality” ‘TV. It creates a 33 megapixel image that dwarfs even 4K TV.
What will we see from Mars?
We’ll see a recreation of the mission using a combination of the actual flight data of the MMX spacecraft and the images taken by the Super Hi-Vision Camera.
Images taken at regular intervals will be partially transmitted to Earth to create a smooth image while the original image data is planned to be stored in a recording device in MMX’s return capsule and brought back to Earth—along with sand from Phobos.
Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.