The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) have teamed up to develop a ‘Super Hi-Vision Camera’ that can record 4K and 8K images. The camera will be sent into space for JAXA’s Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) mission.

This will mark the first time that 8K ultra high definition images of Mars and its moons are captured by a proximate camera. The MMX spacecraft will explore the Martian system, which is around 300 million kilometers from earth.

JAXA is currently developing the MMX spacecraft ahead of an anticipated launch in Japan fiscal year 2024. The mission objective is to further our understanding of the Martian system, including its origins and evolutionary process. MMX will capture high-resolution images, make scientific observations of Martian moons, Phobos and Deimos, and land on Phobos to collect substrate to return to earth.

The Super Hi-Vision Camera will help JAXA visualize the challenges the MMX spacecraft faces in space. The ultra HD images will be broadcast and images captured at regular intervals will be partially transmitted back to earth to create a smooth video. Original captures will be stored on a recording device aboard the MMX and will be brought back to earth.

MMX mission overview. Image credit: JAXA. Seen via Parabolic Arc.

The MMX mission is not the first time JAXA and NHK have collaborated. The two industry giants have worked together since the live broadcast from a space shuttle in 1992. The duo also worked together for an HD filming from the Kaguya lunar orbiter, 4K filming from the International Space Station (ISS), and when visualizing the landing operation for the asteroid probe, Hayabusa2. The new mission aims to capture the world’s first 8K images of Mars and its moons. Further, JAXA and NHK are working together to visualize the behavior of the MMX spacecraft by combining high-resolution images and the craft’s flight data. This visual information can be used to operate the craft as well.

Image credit: JAXA/NHK

Although we must wait some time for the MMX mission to launch and for the 8K imagery to return to earth in all its high-resolution glory, it will be incredible to see the Martian system in a new and vivid way.