# Why not a digital camera?

Why do we not add an everyday (with some modifications for protection obviously) digital camera to spacecraft so that we can get a (semi) truecolor image of what they are seeing?

I was reading about how with the Mars rovers, it is really just scientific estimations of what the true color really is (that humans would see) Why not just implement a standard digital camera to see this?

• You will hear lazy rocket scientists make up excuses about added complexity, failure risks, extensive testing procedures, radio interference, power consumption, communication limits, budgets. And astronomers who are very picky with instrument quality. Tiangong-2 was filmed by a separate satellite camera. Hayabusa-2 will use a sat cam to film the explosives making a crater. The Space Society has long lobbied for a microphone on Mars and the 2020 rover will have one. And Juno has a "non-scientific" camera. So it is coming. – LocalFluff Nov 4 '16 at 8:01
• The science instruments on the Mars rovers and other science spacecrafts measure the wavelengths of light (i.e. colors) very exactly. If you heard that the color is an estimate, I suspect it is so only for photoshopped images meant to look pretty for publishing. Our minds change colors alot to make the same object look the same, mostly from our memory, regardless of light settings. What the "true color" is, is really a deep philosophical conundrum. And btw have a look at NASA's Phonesat project. – LocalFluff Nov 4 '16 at 8:21
• The issue is more complex than just the camera hardware. Because Mars' atmosphere is different to Earth's, the same object will look different on Mars' surface than it does here on Earth. That makes it difficult to decide what is true color. – Hobbes Nov 4 '16 at 8:57
• I object to the phrase "make up excuses". Added complexity, failure risks, extensive testing procedures, radio interference, power consumption, communication limits, budgets are all valid points. You don't want the \$500 camera to interfere with the \$100 million mission. – Hobbes Nov 4 '16 at 12:36
• @Innovine Forget about different cameras. I shoot RAW, which moves processing steps like demosaicing, whitebalance and so on out of the camera and into the post-processing stage. The same RAW file can produce hugely different resulting images, and there's nothing saying that one of them is more "correct" than the other, other than -- you guessed it -- subjective perception. – a CVn Nov 8 '16 at 12:33