How A San Diego Company Is Playing A Big Role In NASA's Latest Mars Landing


After seven years, a local company's hard work will be put to the test on Thursday, February 18.

Malin Space Science Systems in Sorrento Valley has been working to build five special cameras since 2014. The cameras they built will attach to the newest NASA drone which is scheduled to land on the surface of Mars on Thursday.

The lab has created that orbit the moon and Jupiter, but this newest version of their cameras is able to give us the closest look at Mars we've ever had.

"That will be pretty cool because no one has ever flown a zoom lens to Mars before," Michael Ravine, Advanced Projects Manager at the lab, told FOX5.

Some of the new cameras are capable of zooming in five-times beyond the normal field of vision, according to Ravine.

If NASA's rover safely lands, the plan is to use the Malin Space cameras to navigate the surface of Mars for the next decade.

The landing is often described as "seven minutes of terror" because of all the mechanical issues that could arise throughout the rover's seven-minute descent to the surface of the planet.

But Ravine told FOX5 he's not stressing over it.

"If it crashes, it's not my fault," he said. "If the cameras don't work, that's my fault. Let's get the cameras on to see if those work because that's our part, what we are responsible for."

The cameras will be turned on for the first time on Friday, February 19.

Photo: Getty Images