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Optical Filters Enable Awesome Photos

Over the past few decades, Materion Precision Optics has partnered with 100s of high technology companies to provide cutting-edge, enabling technologies for space exploration. One such example is support for the National Aeronautics & Space Administration’s (NASA) Mars Space Laboratory (MSL). Materion provided the optical filters used within the Mast Camera (MASTCAM) on the Mars rover Curiosity. The 360 degree panoramic view of the "Namib Dune" on Mars was stitched together from photographs taken by MASCAM through Materion filters. 

Panoramic View of Mars 

The Namib Dune on Mars – Panoramic View – NASA JPL

In November 2011, Curiosity was launched as part of the MSL and landed successfully on Mars in August 2012. The first-ever images of the Martian surface through MASTCAM were captured on August 9, 2012. Since that time, literally thousands of awesome images have been recorded and returned to Earth. Access to these photos have provided scientists and curious observers alike with unparallel views and information about our ‘neighboring’ planet. For more information about Mars Space Lab, visit

Due (in part) to the tremendous success and scientific benefits of the MSL, NASA has planned and is well under way with a follow-up mission to Mars (MARS 2020) in the coming years. Here at Materion, we are tremendously proud of our involvement on all previous US forays to Mars and look forward with excitement to continuing participation in future flights. It is our privilege to be involved with visionaries who can employ our technologies to give humanity images that are literally out of this world. For more information about Materion’s astronomical products & services, contact Dave Harrison, Project Manager,