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.