According to this answer, there have been no instances of video recorded from beyond lunar orbit. Mostly, this makes sense as rovers and spacecraft are served just as well with pictures and nothing really moves fast enough to merit taking video (at least I assume that's the rationale). Additionally, spacecraft bandwidth and storage are at a premium and sending a video would be costly.

This changes with NASA's Mars 2020 rover. Seeing the Mars helicopter fly around and preform its mission objectives would be interesting from both an entertainment and scientific/engineering point of view.


  • Does the Mars 2020 rover have the capability to record video and will it record the Mars Helicopters' flight to send back to Earth?
  • Will the Mars 2020 helicopter record video from its perspective and will this be transmitted back to the rover and then Earth?

Note: I'm defining video as a series of images recorded at faster than 24 fps. Everything slower than 24 fps is a considered a timelapse.

  • $\begingroup$ I think you're being overly restrictive with your 24 fps, the moon landings were braodcast at 10 fps after all $\endgroup$
    – user20636
    Commented Jan 21, 2020 at 13:59
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @JCRM sure, but the moon landing was 50 years ago. It's 2020 and I want high framerate, high resolution footage now dammit! $\endgroup$
    – Dragongeek
    Commented Jan 21, 2020 at 14:09
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ high framerate, high resolution footage requires high data bandwidth for live transmission or a long time for transmission of recorded video using medium or low bandwidth. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Commented Jan 21, 2020 at 18:28
  • $\begingroup$ pshaw, kids today $\endgroup$
    – user20636
    Commented Jan 22, 2020 at 9:10

1 Answer 1


MASTCAM-Z uses the KAI-2020 sensor Sensor Data Sheet which can be read out at 18-35 Hz frame rate. The camera has 8 GB of flash memory that can be used to store video before it's trickled over to the rover computer and then scheduled for downlink. NASA Mars 2020 MASTCAM-Z Description. This is not a standard mode for the camera, but it would be possible for operators to use it in this fashion if they wanted to take the time to change the settings and test it in this configuration (not trivial, but not terrible IMHO). My coworkers here at Malin Space Science Systems didn't include video as a standard mode since it wasn't part of the NASA requirements, but the capability is there in the hardware.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.