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Science and the Scenic at Concepcion, With panoramas, inspiration is part of the goal
post Feb 2 2010, 02:40 AM
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Following is an excerpt from my recent post on the Opportunity:Concepcion thread, the discussion of which idea I hope to continue in this new location:

The Rover mission planners have always been concerned to capture scenic vistas; but as the mission has gone on, they have become better at it (having missed, I think, an early opportunity to get a full panorama of the mid-distance Endurance crater) -- and it seems to have become more of a goal in and of itself.

Witness the careful positioning for the current panorama -- I will not say of Concepcion, but with Concepcion as its focal point -- with the rays of detritus pointing to the mountains (or whatever they are) on the horizon; a framing, one might say, that goes beyond the needs of pure science.

The posts from FredK and Ngunn opposing this idea surprised me, and made me realize that I had left out a key point regarding the framing of the Concepcion panorama, namely, that a purely scientific panorama at this site would have had a lower camera angle to take in as much of the strew field as possible, and would have ignored the distant peaks of Endeavour; my point being that the current framing has been selected for both scientific and inspirational value.

One could argue that it is scientifically important to show Concepcion in relationship to Endeavour -- but come on! The former is a thirty foot crater, and the latter, I think, thirty or so kilometers in diameter! Not to mention that Opportunity will have time, while on the run, to take tons of pictures of the distant peaks.

In short: a person who was 100% scientist -- without a drop of human emotion -- would be keeping his or her head down at Concepcion. But our Rover scientists are more complete human beings than that!

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post Feb 2 2010, 04:38 AM
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I think your question was addressed already and I'm not certain we need a whole new topic on this.

The simple fact is that we are going to encounter some really scenic vistas throughout this trek, and the panoramas are going to be breathtaking on those occasions. Yes the folks who operate them are human, but also there's not a lot of opportunity for them to plan image acquisition based on some wistful desire to capture beautiful vistas. These rovers cost several hundred million dollars to build and get them where they are for scientific purposes, and they cost a whole lot to keep a team of top scientists around operating them, for scientific purposes. It's a nice thought, but the beautiful compositions are mostly serendipity.

If Occam had heard my theory, things would be very different now.
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