Japan to explore Mars and its moons with 8k camera

The Japanese space agency JAXA and broadcaster NHK are developing an 8k camera that will be sent along with the upcoming Martian Moons eXploration mission. The probe, which aims to retrieve samples from Phobos, will be launched in 2024.

The Japanese space agency and broadcaster say that the MMX probe is equipped so-called Super Hi-Vision cameras. It’s got a 4k camera and an 8k camera. Technical details about the cameras have not yet been disclosed; for example, it is unclear at what speed images are recorded or what the sensor dimensions are. 8k typically refers to the 8k-uhd standard of 7680×4320 pixels. This requires a sensor with a resolution of at least 33 megapixels.

JAXA plans to launch the MMX probe in September 2024. It will then arrive in orbit around Mars in August 2025. The probe will take pictures of the red planet and moons Phobos and Deimos. The probe is scheduled to land on Phobos in 2026, collecting samples there and launching itself again from the moon. In 2028, the probe will leave orbit around Mars and will be deployed back to Earth. By September 2029, the probe, including samples, should have returned

The bandwidth for sending images from Mars to Earth is limited. Some of the data the MMX probe collects is sent directly back to Earth, but the images are stored in the probe in original resolution. All the footage can be read out when the MMX mission has returned to Earth.

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