Eli5: why is this rover camera Black and White



Is it needed for a specific purpose or what? Wouldn’t it be easier to take a normal unedited image and Later use a filter on it?

In: Engineering

There are 23 cameras on Perseverance. Some are 4K and color. The first images were from a lower quality camera that was exposed during landing, why that one happened to be B&W, only JPL can tell you. Rest assured there will be many more very high quality and very colorful photos coming soon.

ok maybe not colorful, it’s safe to assume they’ll all be rust colored, but you know what I mean.

A b&w image can have significantly less data than a colour image of the same resolution,. When you’re trying to send images from Mars this means getting the images back to earth much quicker.

Those were hazard cameras that are pointed directly in front and below the vehicle, just to spot hazardous rocks that could damage the vehicle. They don’t need to be hi-res or color, they just need to be able to tell “don’t drive this way”.

The good cameras are all located on an extendable arm that will be unfolded soon, i think they will blow a cover off with pyrotechnics today, and then that arm gets raised and we will see Mars in all its glory.

The images were from the hazard detection cameras. These cameras are placed underneath the rover and the front and rear in order to detect obstructions in the rovers path. Low quality cameras are sufficient for this. Higher quality cameras simply weren’t needed for this function. Perseverance has additional cameras that are high quality and will surely be sending back HD images as soon as it’s able.

In addition to what other answers are saying there is also an issue with color calibration. These cameras have been experiencing some very extreme conditions so it would not surprise anyone if there is some slight damage to them in some way. And this can throw off the calibration of them so that they do not capture the images in their right color. This have caused issues before as images from Mars have been published in full color before any exact color calibration step had been conducted. And the colors were very off from what the calibrated image showed the next day. So they want to avoid this as much as possible and does not release any color images from the rover before they have been properly calibrated so they show the true colors of the planet.