I'm as smitten as everyone else by Elon’s Starman cruisin' his Tesla through the cosmos. But I'm even more curious why we were limited to a signal transmission architecture with a mere 12-hour life and a non-solar power system.
Since the Roadster is technically a spacecraft, what reasons would Elon Musk and SpaceX’ engineers have for treating it more like space junk? The power needed to transmit a video stream or even periodic images is minimal. What technical issues would compel them to launch a payload with the potential to be a cultural icon and artifact of humankind basically forever into the heavens and not do a better job of designing a system that would send back updates every once in awhile? Especially considering Musk's companies and their expertise in solar power and battery-life longevity?
Couldn't the same communication systems that broadcast images from Curiosity or even Voyager have been bundled underneath the roadster? Would weight deviations from the Tesla’s specs add an unnacceptable degree of uncertainty that could jeopardize the launch, and therefore make it too risky?
A quick edit: The previous articles I've read didn't offer anything other than general PR or journalists' assumptions in terms of the why and why not of my question. As an example, one article I read stated: "so it’s likely that video of its insertion into what Musk said will be a 'billion year elliptical Mars orbit' will be released afterward." But that doesn't address the 12-hour limit I'm wondering about.