Originally posted by HIWATT
None of that explains why a $2.5 BILLION DOLLAR piece of equipment has such low imaging capability....
As I said in another post, the cameras are NOT the primary science instruments on this rover. Sure -- pictures have scientific value, but there is
also a whole suite of other (expensive) instruments:
- A Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) system, which is a laser that vaporizes rock and analyses that vapor to learn about the chemistry of
- The Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) X-ray diffraction and X-ray fluorescence instrument.
- Alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS), which can can irradiate samples with alpha particles and map the spectra of X-rays that are re-emitted for
determining the elemental composition of samples.
- The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument, which will analyze organics and gases from both atmospheric and solid samples.
- Radiation assessment detector (RAD), which records radiation on Mars in a wide spectrum.
- Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons instrument (DAN), which measures hydrogen or ice and water at or near the Martian surface.
- The Rover environmental monitoring station (REMS), which is a meteorological package of instruments and an ultraviolet sensor (provided by
To pwer all of these instruments and the 17 cameras, they couldn't use just solar panels. Solar panels would not provide enough power, plus provide
even less power during the winter when the sun is low in the sky (Spirit
were required to hibernate during the winter
during the winter. So Curiosity is powered with a radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG), which is a great steady, long-lasting, and reliable
power source, but it is also a lot more expensive than solar panels.
So, as you can see, pictures are nice, but the science this rover does goes way beyond pictures.
It should be noted that the pictures eventually sent from Curiosity (once the MastCAM and the MAHLI become operational) will be better
(resolution-wise) than the panoramic images sent from Spirit
By the way, those wide-angle panoramas we got from Spirit
were not single images, but mosaics made up of several small
images stitched together. The same will be true for Curiosity
images; each raw image will be small (although larger than the raw images from
), and they will need to be stitched together by NASA to get the wide panoramas we are so used to seeing.
edit on 8/7/2012 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)