NASA has decided to ditch plans to equip its Curiosity Mars rover with a pair of 3D cameras. Avatar helmsman James Cameron was behind the move to replace the rover's two cameras with some enhanced glass, but the agency says it doesn't have time to test the kit before Curiosity sets off for the Red Planet later this year. The …
Cameron said: "While Curiosity won't benefit from the 3D motion imaging that the zooms enable, I'm certain that this technology will play an important role in future missions. In the meantime, we're certainly going to make the most of our cameras that are working so well on Curiosity right now."
So HE paid for the cameras and owns them?
Presumably the Zoom ones eat more power, might get stuck due to hot/cold/dust or wear out. Certainly would need a lot of testing.
What does a Film Director know about the technology needed for Science?
I guess he does know it's just Stereoscopic and not actually 3D? 3D Motion? Is he expecting Alien life forms? How fast do rocks move?
At least this blockbuster movie... er scientific expedition won't be like most movies recently and have half-arsed 3D effects grafted on at the last minute that do nothing except make you wear stupid glasses and give you a headache!
Sorry - what would be the point? IMAX Movies? Hmm, if there is no drawback, then I guess there's no harm, but if any real science would have to be sacrificed.....well, I really don't agree with that.
What would be the point?
I'll tell you the point: single-shot triangulation. One picture and you get not only the image, but a *measurable* image, in which you can tell what something looks like, how far away it is, and using that distance, exactly how big it is, for everything in the scene. A laser rangefinder can tell you how far away one thing is, not all of them.
Fixed Focal Length=Fixed Scale
The images they get with the fixed focal lengths are measurable, and triangulation with a variable focal length would require that the focal length at which the image was taken be known precisely, requiring a feedback system that becomes a potential source of measurement error.
Else we start seeing pebbles as giant Martian castles...
Much cheaper option
Just slap a Kinect on there.
Love the Swiss Army knife next to the camera. Presumably for scale but more fun than a ruler.
But it's nice to think that it's attached there for any indigenous Martian to use to fix up a bust camera.
RWAAAH! This clearly violates standard El Reg measurements standards. OK, blame NASA all you want but how hard can it be for the vulture photoshopper to plonk in a handful of linguine?!
I'm horrified, shocked into silence.
Perhaps Cameron's cameras will photograph some "Aliens", then NASA may "Terminate" the public access to these photos, which in turn will be a "Titanic" mistake.
These photos will disspear in the "Abyss" of NASA's secret files and any speculation about their existence will be touted as "True Lies"
I'll get my coat...
Enough of this movie-name-dropping...
...or I'll send Rambo (First Blood Part II) after you!!
^35mm & 100mm
assuming not a lot is moving on mars apart from the rover,
can you not synthesis 3D out of multiple images ?
Asuming that the scene is stable, take a picture, shift sideways a bit and take another picture.
If something moves in the meantime, then wander over and talk to it...
Grossly irresponsible - if you've seen the amount of pocket fluff that accumulates in a penknife like that - and you put one next to a space grade camera!!!
Nice to see
Good that at least some NASA engineers understand the problems of feature creep.
Anyway, given that nothing on Mars moves much, surely Curiosity can get stereo photos simply by aiming the camera sideways,taking a shot, rolling 6" along, and taking another one?
No they don't
They added a knife, a tiny pair of sizzors, a screwdriver, a bottle opener and a tool for digging stones out of horses hooves.
Cameron is a member of the science team
@mage Just for info, James Cameron is a member of the science team, so it is a "we".
So someone found a good use for one of those old Nikon sensors? I hope they consulted Ken Rockwell first.
This is not a title
I wish they'd put a mic on one of these probes. I, for one, would love to hear what the breeze sounds like on Mars.
Mars breeze sounds?
Somthing like "whoosh, howl, moan, cough, er, hello earthlings - stop it with the damn RC cars already! howl, whoosh", I suspect.
Cameron is an explorer as well as a film maker. Let's not forget he funded an expedition to Titanic in order to get an accurate representation of the ship for the film. The result of course was a film that wowed the masses, and upset Neil DeGrasse Tyson because the sky view when the ship sank was completely wrong. Not to worry though, Cameron took this all on board (no pun intended) and had the production company work with Tyson to get the correct sky in time for the re-release.
Anyway, switching cameras so soon before launch is a terrible idea. Once the rover's out there, it's not coming back and you can't repair it if it goes wrong. A typical example of the dangers of robotic space missions is the Voyager 2 probe. Voyager 2's camera jammed mid voyage while the ship was passing Saturn in 1981 and wouldn't rotate. The fault was traced to an issue with the servo (found to fail after a few hundred rotations) and thankfully the NASA engineers managed to free it by heating and cooling the servo. Things like this make NASA wary of sending stuff out into the void without testing it for a few years.
Still, 3D cameras will no doubt be used in future missions once they're proven to work reliably, and when they do we'll all stare at images of our red neighbour with a renewed wonder.
Why not just bung a Kinect on it. Depth mapping is what you want, who gives a monkeys about "ooh look it's like you're really there" on a science mission.
It's a piece of crap and only "works" between 1.8m and 3.5m (no - not even the 1.2m it's spec'd to work at)
Hardly useful for rangefinding.
Besides, it'd have to go up with an Xbox and you know how fragile these little beasts are and how they are prone to "laser burn" if you sneeze anywhere near them!
Microsoft should stick to ripping off other people's software or borging the company and destroying the software themselves.
It is a good idea for later.
Now everybody stop the bitching and moaning.