Oscar-winning director James Cameron has come up with some out-of-this-world ideas for his movies, and now his ideas are truly going out of this world.
The "Avatar" director has joined forces with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to outfit a high-resolution 3-D camera onto the next generation mars rover, Curiosity, the Associated Press reports.
With 3-D imaging capabilities, this rover could bring back the most incredible, never-before-seen images of the Red Planet to date. And we all thought digging an ice trough was impressive. Now, I can only imagine what amazing detail we'll be able to see with "Avatar technology" on Mars. Could we even possibly find life there? That remains to be seen.
San Diego-based Malin Space Science Systems is currently working on building the 3-D mast camera with Cameron listed as co-investigator, AP reported. Malin has already delivered fixed-focal-length lens cameras (34mm and 100mm) to NASA for the mast system and is currently working on getting the 3-D camera to the agency before final rover testing next year.
WATCH VIDEO: See how the movie "Avatar" was made with the most cutting-edge 3-D technologies never before used in film.
It didn't come easy though. According to a CBS report, Cameron lobbied NASA administrator Charles Bolden hard to include the camera, saying a rover with a better set of eyes will help the public connect with the mission.
Bolden was convinced, funding was moved around, and the rover is set to launch in 2011 with the camera proudly mounted on its mast.
This isn't the first time Cameron has had mars rovers on the brain. In 1999, he announced he would be producing a TV mini-series and an IMAX film, both depicting the bumbling lives of the first humans to live on Mars.
In a speech he gave that same year about the series to the International Mars Society, Cameron said, "We knew the rover was gonna be a central element. We wanted to give people some eye candy and go sightseeing, so we knew we had to get away from the base, which after about day three is gonna have so many footprints and rover tracks and tele-operated rover tracks all over it that it's gonna look like the Mars Society convention was actually held there. Woodstock 2014."
Indeed, this new rover with it's incredible camera is going to stir up quite a party.
Image credits: NASA JPL, 20th Century Fox (used with permission)