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Communications Mars NASA Space News Science Technology

Curiosity Transmits First 360-Degree Panorama From Mars 108

Posted by timothy
from the posted-with-instagram dept.
redletterdave writes with this snippet from the IB Times: "Five days after NASA's Curiosity rover successfully landed on Mars, the one-ton robot sent another postcard back to Earth, this one a 360-degree doozy. Curiosity's first panorama, albeit black-and-white, gives Earthlings a great high-quality glimpse at the surface on Mars, specifically within the 96-mile Gale Crater."
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Curiosity Transmits First 360-Degree Panorama From Mars

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  • Re:Color? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @11:49AM (#40958101)

    I know adding color would increase bandwidth, but I can't imagine that alone is the problem.

    Actually, that alone is the problem. It's a 1mbit / 256kbit stream to a satellite in LEO that's only overhead for 18 minutes every day. I guess it's something about the transmitter being a few billion miles away that makes it hard, or something...

  • Re:Color? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DMUTPeregrine (612791) on Saturday August 11, 2012 @05:09PM (#40960301) Journal
    It's because of how cameras work.
    The CCD sensors that make up each pixel can't sense color, they only sense light intensity. Putting a filter in front of them lets one get light of a single color. In a consumer camera every CCD is filtered by a red, green, or blue filter. In a scientific camera the full resolution is desired, instead of 1/3 resolution, so they use swappable filters and take 3 images; one red, one green, and one blue. These are then composed into a single color image. They can also use different filters (IR, UV, etc) depending on what data they want to capture (and the sensitivity range of the CCD in the camera). When color data isn't needed, full-spectrum luminance info is desired, or just to save bandwidth, they take unfiltered pictures.

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