Besides the science bring human experience to Mars and other destinations
November 28, 2012
MSL and other landers should have had microphones. Not just for self diagnostics but to bring human experience to Mars and other places. How many boulders have fallen off crater walls nearby? Besides the science when there is some weather happening shoot some good quality video with stereo audio so we can experience a few minutes of an afternoon on Mars. During entry having high quality video on the various entry components capturing and hearing all the vibrations from atmospheric entry and seeing and hearing the guidance rockets fire would have been great. Why not put cameras and mikes in the ballasts that were released. Is a little tiny radio practical in those things? Now gigabytes of storage and cameras and mikes take next no size, weight, or power. Even during the journey to Mars whenever there was a course adjustment having a camera looking at the spacecraft itself with Stars and seeing it change its angle and seeing the rockets fire and hearing the vibrations wouldn't have been a bad thing. Would help determine if any rocket wasn't working exactly as expected. If MSL had a speaker and microphones then it could play uploaded sounds and record them in the martian wind. A revenue opportunity. MSL could endorse Mister Mustard's Hot Dogs and anybody else who pays. That has so many mechanical systems in it not having microphones to help diagnose when/if things start having trouble seems not very smart. I can hear my 1992 Nissan Truck needs new front wheel bearing only because of the Earth Microphones stuck in the side of my head. If the Voyagers had had a small camera just looking at itself with Stars and passing planets in the background that would have been fun. A microphone to hear vibrations when camera panned around would bring human experience out into the Solar System. That couldn't hurt publicity when asking for money for future missions. Most people making the decisions aren't physicists.
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