San Diego connection to Mars rover

SAN DIEGO — NASA’s rover, Perseverance, made a successful landing on Mars Thursday.

And, there’s an important San Diego connection. 

RELATED: ‘Awestruck’: NASA releases incredible images from Mars rover landing

Mike Ravine, Advanced Projects Manager of Malin Space Science Systems in Sorrento Valley talks about the five cameras its team built for the NASA rover. 

“Our camera worked, so I was very happy to hear that,” said Mike Ravine.

“Basically, a giant pan tilt head on top of the rover, with two zoom cameras on there — which are called mastcams,” said Ravine. He says another two cameras are on the end of the rover’s robotic arm.

“The fifth camera is mounted on the bottom of the rover that took pictures as the rover came into land,” said Ravine.

MSSS builds cameras for space missions. The team operates them and collects scientific data from the pictures taken.

Ravine shared photos with News 8 as shown in the news video; photos of the MSSS team in San Diego while they were testing the cameras.

“Specifically, Perseverance is going to collect rock samples that will be collected and brought back to earth for analysis by future missions,” said Ravine.

Ravine has been building these cameras since 1985. He’s worked on missions where landings weren’t successful, so this one is surreal. Especially seeing the MSSS bottom camera on the rover capture the landing.

“I was anxious that landing [would] be successful, but I’m really going to feel a lot better tomorrow when we turn the cameras on and that see that they work, then I know we did our job,” Ravine says, giving a thumbs up. 

To learn more about MSSS and its space missions: