It is now 2 full sols after @NASAPersevere landed, and still there are no raw images being posted at… . On every previous Mars mission since the MERs landed in 2004, these pages have given us all views of the daily operations of @NASA's Mars missions.
We were able to follow mission events by looking at the raw images feed. By now, @NASAPersevere should have deployed its high-gain antenna. Today is the day its mast should raise vertical, giving the Navcams, Mastcam-Z, and Supercam their first light on Mars.
The worst thing about @NASA @NASAJPL @NASA_Persevere's failure to follow Spirit, Opportunity, Phoenix, Curiosity, and InSight and post raw images is that mission team members can't be excited in public about the great successes they're having. They've been silenced.
A lot of know-it-alls have splained to me "it's hard to get data from Mars." Sure it's hard, but it's never been easier. @NASAPersevere has gobs of bandwidth for data downlink via four orbiters. They have megabits and megabits.
And anyway, the images that @NASAPersevere public information officers gave us on Friday aren't on the raw images site yet, either. We know they are holding the raw image releases back for some reason. I have no idea why but it is definitely intentional.
Still people are trying to tell me that "maybe the video is taking a long time to downlink." There are many reasons why this hypothesis is incorrect:
1) There are OPERATIONS CRITICAL images that must be downlinked for them to proceed with first sols of mission. >
Critical images include Hazcam images (from belly-mounted fish-eye cameras) that establish that the wheels are on the ground in stable positions and which the mission uses to create a terrain mesh, a 3D model of the landscape around the rover.
2) The images from landing cameras are actually not a video. It *will be* a video once all the frames are on Earth, but the frames are downlinked individually.
3) To conserve bandwidth, they will downlink most of these as small thumbnails first, before requesting full-res.
There is zero question that @NASAPersevere has TONS of images on the ground. The only explanation I can come up with is that @NASA has decided to go back on its previous commitment to open data & tradition of sharing raw images, that it wants to limit and control the narrative.
There's a press briefing Monday. They will release stuff then, as they did on Friday. But an exhausted staff of public information officers can only process and caption and announce a few pictures at a time. It's a tiny flow compared to the spigot of raw data we usually enjoy.
I know the flow of raw images will start up eventually, since they do have a web page for it. I feel bad for mission personnel who've been told not to even mention images on social media. They should get to be excited in public. It's some of the best STEM outreach @NASA does.
As I write, the sun is getting low in the sky on Perseverance's second full day of Mars surface operations. Engineers and scientists are clocking in to start planning sol 3. They're all amazing folks and I can't wait to see what they bring us back from Mars. Love to you all <3
Postscript: Since a lot of people have expressed worry, I can assure you that @NASAPersevere is well, and operations are proceeding according to plan, as far as I know.

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More from @elakdawalla

21 Feb
I think the reason I’m so frustrated about the lack of raw images is that they have, until now, been the focus of my post-landing writing. There’s a new mission on Mars and I want to TEACH!! So, okay, I don’t get to do it with pictures. Ask me anything. I’ll answer as I cook.
By end of mission Perseverance may drive VERY far from safe landing site. By dropping samples closer to flat crater floor, it will be faster/safer/easier to retrieve & return them to where they can be launched to Mars orbit.
No, in fact rovers deliberately take more images than they can ever return to Earth. Each camera has its own storage & transmits files to main rover computer when commanded for downlink; others flow automatically according to assigned priority, from 1 to 100.
Read 18 tweets
21 Feb
While we wait for raw images, maybe I’ll try to beat down some conspiracy theories....
This image was only partially transmitted from Mars in moments after landing, before relay orbiter sank below horizon. The rounded upper left and right corners are the edges of the lens cap. The rounded edges to the black areas of no image data are JPEG compression artifacts.
The two images in this photo are the ones that were released on the raw images website already. They are thumbnail (down sampled) images, small versions that the rover transmits to Earth before downlinking more bandwidth-hungry full-res data.
Read 10 tweets
20 Feb
A couple people who've been reading the Maki et al. (2020) paper describing the engineering cameras have pointed out this passage to me, talking about the EDL cams transmitting MPEG video to Earth. Here, let me explain what this passage says: (thread)
1) Like all Perseverance's instruments, the EDL cams have their own computer(s) inside the rover belly. When they acquire data, the data are stored in uncompressed binary format in the EDL cams' computer (the DSU).
2) The DSU can compress, downsample, & reformat the images.
3) After compression, the original raw files are still there on the DSU until their deletion is commanded by instrument engineers.
4) Because of the quantity of data, most of it will be compressed in MPEG format before transfer to Earth. HOWEVER,
Read 5 tweets
20 Feb
Landing plus 34 hours and there are still only 2 1/4 images here. What's going on @NASAPersevere?…
The worst thing is, I've heard nothing official. If an official @NASAPersevere person told me "there will be nothing posted until Monday" I would be upset, but at least I could leave my F5 key for the weekend. Don't you want me to be excited? Can you tell me either way?
To everybody replying to this with "maybe something has gone wrong" I suppose it's possible but I have a lot of friends in the mission and I keep their secrets but I think I'm not betraying anybody's confidence when I assure you all that I've heard of nothing being wrong.
Read 4 tweets
19 Feb
Many others will be sharing photos this morning. I'm going to do something different: read through Maki et al. (2020), the paper describing Perseverance's engineering cameras, and provide you some context for those pictures.…
First: What and Where are the cameras? From left:
- 3 Parachute Uplook Cameras (PUC), mounted to backshell
- 1 Descent Downlook Camera (DDC), mounted to descent stage, pointing at rover
- 1 each Rover Uplook & Rover Downlook Camera, mounted to top & bottom of rover deck
- 2 Navcams, on mast, for surveying landscape for driving
- 6 Hazcams, on rover body, 4 front & 2 rear. Only 1 front pair is in use at a time (others are for redundancy), for surveying near field for drive safety & arm positioning
- 1 Cachecam inside rover body for sample images
Read 19 tweets
19 Feb
Those of you waiting for Perseverance pics: I'm about to do y'all a service. I have a radio interview in 7 minutes. They will certainly arrive while I am busy doing that.
Standing by, will be on after the commercial break
Read 4 tweets

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