Monday, August 6, 2012
Curiosity Landed, Big Deal! Where's the Great Pix?
One of the early photos, snapped by a 1-megapixel low tech camera
Jeebus! One of the most colossal engineering feats in human history has taken place within about the last 12 hours but you'd never know it to hear some of the complaining on the web by resident netheads! They all wanted to see living color, HD quality, horizon shots within a nanosecond of landing. Never mind this amazing craft survived what space jockeys have rightly called "seven minutes of terror" as it plummeted through the thin Martian atmosphere starting at speeds of 13,000 mph, with outer skin approaching temperatures of 4,000 F to make a soft landing at barely 1.7 mph. What more do people want? Well, obviously a lot for $2.5 b!
Anyway, hold strain, space junkies, because the best is yet to come! Now that the 7-foot tall Rover has safely landed, we can look forward to much greater achievements ....in time!
Critics of the pedestrian, barely "Viking quality" (ca. 1976) early photos (see above, compliments of NASA) need to bear in mind that the initial low -tech stuff was planned. Indeed, the earliest image (as shown) was taken by one of the craft's 1-megapixel hazard avoidance cameras attached to the craft's body. If then after the early photos, no hazards (i.e. acidic rocks, chemicals or dust storms) are found to be around, then much more fantastic high definition, color images will be forthcoming. But we have to ensure there are no lurking dangers first. We don't want to just start shooting with the costliest gear then watch aghast from Earth as it's jackhammered by some falling boulder.
So, look for at least several days to elapse before the main show begins, and the really quality images. We can wait a few days (I know for netheads it's hard to wait 2 seconds) can't we? Sure we can!
For now, let's relax, exhale, and just enjoy that gray -scale initial photo showing a solid landing in the Gates Crater. That single image embodies the triumphant end and touch down of a mammoth journey spanning 352 million miles and eight months, besides which the Moon landings were child's play.