Why the Mars Curiosity Rover’s Cameras Are Lame by Today’s Standards

Ever since NASA’s Curiosity rover landed on Mars and started beaming back photographs earlier this week, people have been wondering, “why are the photos so bad?” The criticism seems merited: consumers these days are snapping great high-res photographs using phones that cost just hundreds of dollars, yet NASA can’t choose a camera with more than 2-megapixels of resolution for their $2.5 billion mission?

In an interview with dpreview, project manager Mike Ravine of Malin Space Science Systems — the company that provided three of the rover’s main cameras — explains that there were a couple main reasons behind the “lame” cameras: data transfer and fixed specifications. (PetaPixel)

Explains why the cameras on Curiosity are 2 mega-pixel with 2 gigs of storage when our phones have 8 mega-pixel and 64 gigs.

Mostly because it’s difficult to send a lot of data from 88 million miles away, and when the design was set in stone we were still in 2004.