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Mars Descent Imager (MARDI)

Images taken starting just before heatshield jettison, & continue until landing
Megapixel, electronically shuttered CCD will take panchromatic images of the landing site at 1.25 mrad/pixel
10 1000x1000 pixel images will be taken, covering areas from 9 km to 9 m across at resolutions of 7.5 m to 9 mm per pixel pair

The Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) will acquire and analyze close-up pictures of the landing site of the Mars Polar Lander during its descent. MARDI will take 10 images of the surface, starting 10 seconds after the parachute is deployed and finishing as the lander touches down. The images will range in scale from 8 km to 9 m across. The Imager will provide geologic and geographic context for the results of the Lander's investigations, initial planning information for Lander operations, and will study specific features of the geology and geomorphology of Mars.


MARDI includes a single camera head consisting of optics, focal plane assembly and support electronics, and housing. Using a megapixel, electronically shuttered CCD, MARDI provides panchromatic images of the landing site with a resolution of 1.25 mrad/pixel. Images are taken starting just before heatshield jettison, and continue until landing. Under nominal circumstances approximately ten 1000 x 1000 pixel images will be acquired. Taken at altitudes less than 8 km above the surface, these images cover areas from 9 km to 9 m across and at resolutions of 7.5 m to 9 mm per pixel pair. MARDI is built by Malin Space Science Systems (MSSS), with Dr. Michael Malin (MSSS) as Principal Investigator.

For additonal information on the MARDI instrument, please visit the MARDI website:

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