I'm interested in what the effective bandwidth is for, in particular, the Curiosity and Perseverance rovers back to Earth.

By 'effective' I mean 'averaged over a sufficiently long period', so at least several Sols. I also mean not just direct bandwidth (which I think is relatively tiny compared to the relay bandwitch), but the bandwidth via all the orbiters. I'd also be interested in knowing if there are systematic medium-term variations due to both Mars/Earth/Sun position and changes in relative orbiter/rover position & timing, but that's less important. Finally I'm interested in the achieved bandwidth, not a best-case maximum, and I don't care much about the latency (several Sols via a relay is fine, but 'wrote it onto an SD card which a later mission will collect from the surface' is cheating).

This is clearly related to this question but that's asking for the maximum orbiter-to-Earth bandwidth and I'm very much more interested in what the averaged value is in practice.

The best thing I've been able to find is for Curiosity which is this. That says up to about 250 Mbits per orbiter pass and I think there are two orbiter passes per Sol (of different orbiters I think). So that would indicate about 500Mbits or 50MB/Sol for Curiosity, together with some (I think much smaller) direct-to-Earth bandwidth.

Curiosity & Perseverance have the same quoted maximum bandwidth to the relays (2Mbit/s) so I am guessing about the same for Perseverance, but I don't know.

But it would be really interesting to get a more definitive set of figures, hence this question.


1 Answer 1


From this article, Curiosity has an effective bandwidth of about 60 Megabytes/ sol.

  • $\begingroup$ Oh that's a brilliant pointer. I'll leave it just in case someone else has other figures, but I think that's the answer. I'm glad to say it's close to my guess! $\endgroup$
    – user21103
    Commented May 4, 2021 at 15:18

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