Two Mastcam-Z cameras in a lab with a pen knife for scale.
Ready for a Close Up (or a Wide Angle): The twin Mastcam-Z cameras, shown with a pocket knife for scale, are assembled and ready for testing in this photo taken at Malin Space Science Systems, in San Diego, California. Credit: MSSS/ASU. Full image and caption ›


The Mastcam-Z is the name of the mast-mounted camera system that is equipped with a zoom function on the Perseverance rover. Mastcam-Z has cameras that can zoom in, focus, and take 3D pictures and video at high speed to allow detailed examination of distant objects.

Tech Specs

Main Job To take high-definition video, panoramic color and 3D images of the Martian surface and features in the atmosphere with a zoom lens to magnify distant targets
Location Mounted on the rover mast at the eye level of a 6 ½-foot-tall person (2 meters tall). The cameras are separated by 9.5 inches (24.2 centimeters) to provide stereo vision.
Mass Approximately 8.8 pounds (about 4 kilograms)
Power Approximately 17.4 watts

Camera head, per unit:
4.3 by 4.7 by 10.2 inches
(11 by 12 by 26 centimeters)

Digital electronics assembly:
8.6 by 4.7 by 1.9 inches
(22 by 12 by 5 centimeters)

Calibration target:
3.9 by 3.9 by 2.7 inches
(10 by 10 by 7 centimeters)

Data Return Approximately 148 megabits per sol, average
Color Quality Similar to that of a consumer digital camera (2-megapixel)
Image Size 1600 by 1200 pixels maximum
Image Resolution Able to resolve between about 150 microns per pixel (0.15 millimeter or 0.0059 inch) to 7.4 millimeters (0.3 inches) per pixel depending on distance
"Mastcam-Z will be the main eyes of NASA's next Mars rover."
- Jim Bell, Principal Investigator

5 Things to Know


Mastcam-Z Picks out the "Best" Rocks
Mastcam-Z's "eyesight" helps scientists zoom in on rocks, picking out some that might preserve signs of past life. It tells us which rocks to core, cache, and maybe return to Earth someday.


Mastcam-Z Hunts Places for Life
Mastcam-Z helps us understand the terrain around the Perseverance rover, such as rock and soil textures. Those clues help show if Mars could have supported tiny life forms long ago.


Mastcam-Z Looks for Water Signs
Scientists can use Mastcam-Z to find signs of ancient lakes, streams, and other water-related features.


Mastcam-Z Has Sharp Vision
With its powerful zoom, Mastcam-Z can see features as small as a house fly - all the way from a distance that's about the length of a soccer field!


Mastcam-Z Is All-Seeing
Mastcam-Z shows us the entire scene around the rover. It can look around in a full 360-degree circle and a full 180 degrees, from straight down to straight up. It also "sees" in color and 3D (stereo).

The Story Behind the Name

Think of Mastcam-Z as the Perseverance rover's main "eyes." It is located near the top of the rover's mast (its "head"). It's a camera system, and it has a Zoom capability - Z for the mark of zoom! What would you call it but Mastcam-Z?