As most of our readers know, the rover NASA sent to Mars is titled Curiosity and it has already landed on the planet. Not only that, but cameras mounted on the Curiosity rover have shot images of the planet’s surface and transmitted them back to Earth. However these pictures have disappointed the general public because of their extremely low quality. But the various intelligent cameras places on the rover mean it should send us back some high quality images. So when exactly will you get high quality images from the Curious rover on Mars?
The one-word and accurate answer to that question is: soon.
In order to understand the low quality images, we must first understand how cameras on the rover work.
Although the scientists who built the rover equipped it with good quality cameras, they had to consider the dust storms on the planet. Dust, flying at very high speed, could damage the camera’s lenses; this is why the scientists equipped the camera with dust caps. These images sent to Earth have been ones with the dust caps attached.
These pictures were taken by Hazcams on the rover (Hazard Cameras). The dust caps will be detached when the dust settles down a bit and there is no risk of dust harming the lenses. You will then be able to view higher quality color images. But the color images will be sent by other cameras. The Hazcams take black and white pictures.
Here is a result of Hazcams with the dust caps removed.
As you can see, the photograph is much clearer.
Moreover, we have only yet received the thumbnail of the image which is on its way. The color image is taken by the MAHLI camera that has a 1600×1200 color sensor i.e. a 2 megapixel camera. The image that is being transmitted might show the same thumbnail image but it will definitely have a higher resolution. Once its dust caps are removed it, too, shall send back clear high quality images of Mars.
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