The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and broadcaster NHK are teaming up to develop a space camera capable of filming in 4K and 8K resolutions to capture Mars like it’s never been seen before. Meanwhile, 8K video remains prohibitively expensive back down here on Earth, so if you’re going to get some ridiculously high-resolution footage, it might as well be something out of this world.
In a press release announcing the collaboration this week, JAXA said this “Super Hi-Vision Camera” will film the red planet and its moons, Phobos and Deimos, during the agency’s planned Martian Moons eXploration mission. Once installed on the MMX spacecraft, it will snap pictures of Mars at regular intervals and partially transmit them to Earth to “create a smooth image” and store the originals in a return capsule headed back home.
In addition to filming Mars, the camera would also help JAXA and NHK visualise the spacecraft’s behaviour back down on Earth by combining flight data with its ultra-high-resolution pictures. It could also help them operate the spacecraft, JAXA added.
“By filming MMX’s mission in the Martian system, 300 million kilometers away from Earth, with the newly developed Super Hi-Vision Camera, JAXA and NHK will work together to convey the appeal of a new horizon that has never been seen in detail before, to many people in a vivid and inspiring way,” JAXA said.
MMX is scheduled to launch in 2024 and reach Mars by 2025, so it’ll be a while yet before we get to see that 8K footage. With images that detailed, though, it could help scientists unravel the enigma of Mars’ history and provide a closer look at how microbes and water endure on the planet’s surface. And, of course, NHK will walk away from the deal with literally one-of-a-kind footage that no other broadcaster can hope to match. Now that’s what you call a win-win situation.