As for the speed of the uplinksThe data rate direct-to-Earth varies from about 500 bits per second to 32,000 bits per second (roughly half as fast as a standard home modem). The data rate to the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is selected automatically and continuously during communications and can be as high as 2 million bits per second. The data rate to the Odyssey orbiter is a selectable 128,000 or 256,000 bits per second (4-8 times faster than a home modem).
Reasons for low res B&W:
Good cameras are stowed/turned off.
The high gain (IE high bandwidth) antenna is still stowed, so they don't have much bandwidth.
The landing site puts Earth below the horizon, so we can't do direct Curiosity-Earth communications yet.
We therefore have to piggyback off of Mars Odyssey, MRO, and Mars Express in a pinch.
All of these orbiters orbit low to take good pictures, so they are over the horizon for very short periods.
Amusingly, the way NASA does it is pretty similar to how our brain does it. The human eye ectually has very few receptors that can detect colors, and only in the very center of the field of view. The brain fills in the colors for the rest of your view based on what it has previsouly seen.
Lets hope they find something interesting. Is the whole water on mars/life on mars in the past proven without a doubt or do they need more data?
Also the landing crane is certainly not a waste. Until earlier today it was simply a theory that this would be a workable way to land the rover (based on sound scientific principles of course). No doubt the crane also sent back data about the landing which can be used to perfect this method, which should hopefully increase the success rate of future landers of this size or larger.
They have a video camera on it? Can't wait for those youtube clips.
It's got hidef 3D cameras. They're certainly for scientific use but just wait for the IMAX.
They've sent the rover to a part of the planet where they've discovered soil that's the most likely to have conserved signs of biological shit
Hey, I just met you,
and this is crazy
but here's my number,
so call me, maybe?
So what's the timeline for Mars Base 1? I assume this rover is sent there to prospect for a good site?