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Group Participation


The High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) is the German contribution to the Mars Express mission. The instrument provides the raw data from which our working group creates high-resolution color data, stereo images (anaglyphs), 3D landscapes and virtual flights over the Martian surface as scientific products, but also as products for public outreach. In the preliminary stages, raw data pass a multi-stage pre-processing at the German Aerospace Center (DLR). The resulting products are the basis of scientific research of the international HRSC team as well as of the published press products that appear both on our websites and on the websites of ESA and DLR.

HRSC scanning principle

The HRSC camera system, which only weighs 20 kilograms, has two camera heads: the High Resolution Stereo head, which consists of nine CCD line sensors mounted in parallel behind a lens, and the Super Resolution Channel (SRC) head, which is composed of a mirror telephoto lens and a CCD array sensor. The HRSC camera works on pushbroom mode: the Martian surface is captured at a flyover simultaneously with nine sensors, among them a high resolution nadir sensor, and red, green, and blue color sensors. Four stereo sensors deliver additional data, which are used to create digital elevation models later. Only the combination of all nine sensors enables the production of colored 3D landscapes.

The HRSC camera was developed under the leadership of Prof. Neukum at DLR, and constructed in co-operation with the industrial partners EADS Astrium, Lewicki Microelectronic GmbH and Jena-Optronik GmbH. It is operated by the DLR Institute of Planetary Research in Berlin-Adlershof together with ESA/ESOC.

The HRSC camera experiment has been supported since 2003 by the National Space Administration with means of the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy. Since then, the funding has been extended six times. The current period of funding is from January 1, 2020 until December 31, 2021.

The camera experiment was headed by the Principal Investigator Prof. Neukum until June 2013. The leadership of the international Science Team was officially taken over by Prof. Jaumann (DLR) from July 2013 until January 2021. (Since February 2021, the science team has been led by Dr Thomas Roatsch (DLR Berlin-Adlershof)). Prof. van Gasselt was Co-Investigator in the HRSC Science Team, and was leader of the research group and of the HRSC project at FU Berlin until March 2016. From April 2016 until March 2017, Dr. Lanz-Kröchert was HRSC project leader, before Prof. Kaufmann (FU Geophysics) stepped in as acting project coordinator until September 2018. Since October 2018, Prof. Postberg is HRSC project leader at FU Berlin.

Participants in the Mars Express/HRSC project