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James Cameron Helping NASA With 3-D Camera

"Avatar" director James Cameron, who has taken movioegoers to the moon Pandora, is heloing NASA take a 3-D camera to Mars.

The Oscar-winning director is helping to build a high-resolution 3-D camera on the next-generation Mars rover.

The camera will be mounted atop Curiosity, the next rover mission to Mars, set for launch next year.

Photos: James Cameron
Photos: "Avatar"
Photos: Mars Rover
Photos: Focus on Mars

Pasadena's Jet Propulsion Laboratory scaled back its plans in 2007 to mount a 3-D camera atop Curiosity because the upcoming flagship mission to Mars was consistently over budget and behind schedule.

But Cameron lobbied NASA administrator Charles Bolden for inclusion of the 3-D camera during a January meeting, saying a rover with a better set of eyes will help the public connect with the mission.

Bolden was convinced.

San Diego-based Malin Space Science Systems is now building the 3-D mast camera with Cameron listed as co-investigator.

The 55-year-old Canadian won three Oscars, including the statuette for Bst Director, for 1997's "Titanic." His first release since then, the 3-D sci-fi adventure "Avatar," also earned him an Oscar nomination.

Though he didn't win the prize, he did win big at the box office. It took in $77,025,481 on its opening weekend and has earned almost $750 million so far.

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