NASA’s Mars Perseverance Rover, APPLIED IMAGE Onboard

SHERLOC (Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicalsis an arm mounted instrument that is part of NASA’s Perseverance rover. It combines imaging with UV resonance Raman and native deep UV fluorescence spectroscopy in order to identify potential biosignatures and understand the aqueous history of a site on MarsSHERLOC performs both spectroscopy and co-boresightedd microscopic imaging for scientific investigations. 

For wide field imaging and sample documentation, the Wide Angle Topographic Sensor for Operations and engineering (WATSON) imager provides images that document the sample at distances of 2 to 25 cm. These images allow for colocated results from other payload images to the SHERLOC spectroscopy results. The WATSON is almost identical to the MAHLI hand-lens camera on the Curiosity rover, which uses a resolution target supplied by APPLIED IMAGE. APPLIED IMAGE made the portion of the MAHLI calibration target with this chart and other graphics on opal glass.  

WATSON captures the larger context images for the very detailed information that SHERLOC collects on Martian mineral targets. WATSON provides views of the fine-scale textures and structures in Martian rocks and the surface layer of rocky debris and dust.

Since WATSON can be moved around on the robotic arm, it also provides other images of rover parts and geological targets that can be used by other arm-mounted instruments. For example, it can be pointed at the oxygen-making experiment MOXIE to help monitor how much dust accumulates around the inlet that lets in Martian air to extract oxygen.1 

A calibration target for WATSON is attached to the front of the rover body. It contains a metric standardized bar graphic, similar to Curiosity, to help calibrate the instrument. 

APPLIED IMAGE is excited to be along for the ride! 


  1. ESA Earth Observation Portal (eoPortal)

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