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Mike Ravine, Advanced Projects Manager for Malin Space Science Systems  (Source: torynfarr/flickr)

A two-image panorama shot with the rover's 1024 x 1024 mono navigation cameras  (Source: NASA)
Reasons included the amount of data produced, the fact that they had to meet the needs of different cameras, and the team's familiarity with these sensors

NASA recently accomplished a huge feat by landing its Mars rover Curiosity on the Red Planet, but one of the questions on the minds of many was why such a sophisticated machine used 2 MP cameras.
Mike Ravine, a project manager from Malin Space Science Systems, was happy to answer that in an interview with Digital Photography Review. He said the main reasons for using 2 MP sensors in the cameras were the amount of data produced, the fact that they had to meet the needs of different cameras, and the team's familiarity with these sensors.
"There's a popular belief that projects like this are going to be very advanced, but there are things that mitigate against that," said Ravine. "These designs were proposed in 2004, and you don't get to propose one specification then go off and develop something else. Two MP with 8 GB of flash didn't sound too bad in 2004. But it doesn't compare well to what you get in an iPhone today."
The amount of data produced is a large reason for using 2 MP cameras. There just isn't enough bandwidth for anything more powerful because the cameras must share with other instruments. Curiosity sends data back to Earth via the UHF transmitter, which transmits to two spacecraft orbiting Mars. The data is then sent back to Earth, and this system only allows for 250 megabits per day to be shared amongst various instruments.
The 2 MP camera sensors also were the tools of choice for the use of four different cameras, including the MAHLI, MARDI and two Mastcams. Having four different sensors for each camera would be expensive and more difficult to maintain rather than having one type of sensor all across the board. 
The team's familiarity with the sensors was crucial, too. The team knew the behavior of Truesense imaging chips and Kodak's KAI-2020 chip, so it makes sense that they'd work with what they know. 
"We know how to clock them and drive them," said Ravine. "They're a very easy CCD to drive."
Other issues, like the low pixel count, are not an issue either since the two Mastcams will create images from multiple exposures. 
NASA rover Curiosity landed successfully on Mars earlier this week after launching from Cape Canaveral, Florida on November 26, 2011. Curiosity is a one-ton, nuclear-powered, Mini Cooper-sized science laboratory that will explore the Martian surface for the next two years. 

Source: Digital Photography Review

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RE: so..
By mindless1 on 8/11/2012 5:16:34 AM , Rating: 4
Don't really agree with that. A screwed up 17 yo is still screwed up at 18. The factor isn't age, and the only real reason why 18 yo is more capable is having (hopefully) graduated high school. Otherwise we could say more capable at 21 than 20, more capable at 22 than 21, etc. There's nothing magic about the number and it can't be reasonably applied to any one person, except our society is incapable of rational discussion about sexuality so an arbitrary standard was set.

Studies don't mean squat, one could easily be crafted that shows the only reason a teenager is less capable is the lower expectations we put on them and the less responsibility we give them.

You have to concede that many 16 yo are more mature than an abused 20 yo? Age wasn't really the factor, that screwed up 20 yo is arguably no better off finding someone her own age that perpetuates the cycle of abuse.

Don't get me wrong, ideally one's mate would be the same age but ideals go out the window when we don't live in an ideal society and age is the least of the concerns.

The only real development teen brains need is dealing with the complexities of our screwed up society, NOT sexuality. The average 18 yo has already been sexually active.

You are part of the problem, suggesting a stereotype that someone would be lecherous if older and must be prowling after abused teens. There's also normal people who find the age of their mate matters less than other qualities about them. I did not mean to accentuate sex with minors though, my reply was made after it was pointed out that age of consent in some places is under 18.

You seem to be suggesting it is unsound to have sex as if you are demonizing it. It's natural, normal, and healthy. Perhaps we should focus on unwanted pregnancy instead which is another topic. Fortunately our screwed up society also has birth control methods.

RE: so..
By WalksTheWalk on 8/13/12, Rating: 0
"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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