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James Cameron convinces NASA to bring 3D camera to Mars

NASA will bring a 3D camera on its next Mars rover mission, thanks to director James Cameron.

By Matthew Shaer / April 30, 2010

Want to see Mars in 3D? So does director James Cameron, who successfully talked NASA into bringing a 3D camera on the next rover mission.

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Apparently, making the most commercially successful movie in history wasn't enough for James Cameron. Now the famed director of "T2" and "Avatar" has convinced NASA to truck a 3D camera all the way to Mars. That's the news this week from the Pasadena Star-News, which reports that Cameron "lobbied hard" for the inclusion of 3D technology on the 2011 voyage of the Mars rover Curiosity.

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Three years ago, NASA had made plans to take a 3D camera to Mars, but the plan was scaled back over budgetary concerns and time-constraints.

This January, Cameron approached NASA administrator Charles Bolden, and suggested that 3D video would help earthbound viewers better understand NASA's Martian missions. Bolden agreed. "It's a very ambitious mission. It's a very exciting mission," Cameron told the Star-News. "[The scientists are] going to answer a lot of really important questions about the previous and potential future habitability of Mars."

Over at Vanity Fair, blogger Juli Weiner has some fun with the fact that Cameron managed to persuade NASA to fork over a little extra cash – and extra time – to get the 3D camera on the Curiosity. "Sound familiar? That’s because this is exactly what happened to every James Cameron movie throughout history," Weiner wrote. "Cameron, who does not work at NASA and is not a scientist, simply would not stand for this less expensive, not-as-cool cameras."

Any way you slice it, it's been a busy year for 3D technology. First came the success of 3D movies such as "Avatar." Then we heard about 3D television screens, and 3D video game systems, and even 3D $100 bills. Can a 3D Mars landing really be so far behind? Or to look at it another way, should NASA be spending the cash to bring the 3D revolution to outer space? Drop us a line in the comments section.

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