Our role in the ExoMars mission
We are a group of engineers and scientists who have designed and built PanCam (Panoramic Camera), the main scientific camera on the Rosalind Franklin rover. As your two eyes give you 3D stereo vision, PanCam has left and right cameras to allow the ExoMars team to collect colour and 3D data of the Martian surface. This helps the scientists understand the area around us and helps the engineers understand hazards where the rover shouldn't go (like steep slopes, big rocks, or sandy dunes where we could get stuck.) PanCam also has a high-resolution camera that acts like a telescope and allows us to see details of the Martian surface in great detail from far away. The stereo cameras are alos able to collect colour data in specific wavelengths that allow us to understand what the nearby rocks are made of. By combining the 3D data and the colour data, PanCam provides information to the rover team that allows the rover to make good decisions about where to drive, and the colour data helps the scientist figure out what we've discovered once we get there.
What is the team is working on now
Because the rover is launching in July 2020, we have already delivered our camera to the engineers and it has been attached to the rover. We are now making sure it is talking properly to the rover and to us. We are also doing calibration, which allows us to understand what the pictures really look like on the ground (for instance, how blue is blue) so when we get to Mars we'll have a better idea of what to expect. Also, we have built a flight spare -- just in case! -- and we are testing this extra camera so we know it will be ready in the unlikely event it's needed.