ExoMars PanCam 3D - Three Dimensional Vision for the Panoramic Camera on ExoMars Rover

ESA’s ExoMars Rover Mission, is scheduled for launch in 2013 and landing on the Red Planet in late 2014 to search for signs of past and present life on Mars. One important scientific sensor is a panoramic imaging system (PanCam) mounted on the ExoMars Rover Mast. It consists of a wide angle multispectral stereo pair and a high resolution monoscopic camera.

Short Description

Main objectives during its six months operational phase are the provision of context information to detect, locate and measure potential scientifically interesting targets, localize the landing site, geologically characterize the local environment, and observe experiments. Three dimensional (3D) PanCam vision processing is an essential component of mission planning and scientific data analysis. Standard ground processing products will be digital terrain maps, panoramas, and virtual views of the environment.

The current development of such processing is carried out by the PanCam 3D Vision Team under JR co-ordination within the ASAP Projects “ExoMars PanCam-A” and “ExoMars PanCam 3D” with background coming from the Mars Netlander Panoramic Camera (DLR) and the Beagle 2 camera system (MSSL, JR, and Univ.Wales). Camera calibration, quality estimation of the expected results and the interfaces to other mission elements such as operations planning, rover navigation system and global Mars mapping are a specific concern of the current development.

After landing in 2014 the resulting software tools and their processing products will be used by geologists, exobiologists and mission engineers to decide upon experiments, select scientifically interesting sites for the rover, and determine risks, resource costs and a priori success probability of vehicle operations: PanCam 3D vision is a key element of ExoMars mission success.

Project Partners


Institute of Digital Image Processing, Joanneum Research (JR) - DI Gerhard Paar

Main Partners

  • Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL), University College London - Dr. Andrew Coates
  • German Aerospace Center (DLR), Institute of Planetary Research, Berlin - Dr. Ralf Jaumann
  • Department of Computer Science, University of Wales, Aberystwyth - Dr. Dave Barnes

Contact Address