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Picture of the Week: Who Needs Video May 31, 2008

Posted by Nick Azer in Google Lunar X Prize, Mars, Mooncast, Phoenix lander, Picture of the Week.
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The above is an animated GIF from NASA’a Phoenix Lander, brought to you from the lovely locale of Mars. A robotic arm deploying may not always the most exciting thing in the world–or, err, solar system?–, but coming straight from another planet, it’s pretty neat. (For a bunch more images from the lander, see here).

Part of the Google Lunar X Prize requirements for a qualifying victory are to send back images and data (including HD video) from the Moon; what they call a “Mooncast“.

MOONCAST: The Mooncast consists of digital data that must be collected and transmitted to the Earth composed of the following:
• High resolution 360º panoramic photographs taken on the surface of the Moon;
• Self portraits of the rover taken on the surface of the Moon;
• Near-real time videos showing the craft’s journey along the lunar surface;
• High Definition (HD) video;
• Transmission of a cached set of data, loaded on the craft before launch (e.g. first email from the Moon).
Teams will be required to send a Mooncast detailing their arrival on the lunar surface, and a second Mooncast that provides imagery and video of their journey roaming the lunar surface. All told, the Mooncasts will represent approximately a Gigabyte of stunning content returned to the Earth.”

I note that they actually require a self-portrait of the rover in all of that. So, little things like that GIF above are going to be big things for many folks in the coming years :)

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