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  • Allistair Mitchell

Tales from the Edict 8 - 4K to Stay?

Updated: Apr 29, 2021

I must start with a confession. I saw the first lunar landing. No, not as an intern at NASA, I wish, but as a school kid. The whole school stopped that day to watch the biggest television anyone had ever seen in 1969 – probably a 36” screen – to watch the grainy events unfold from a moon away. It was amazing and something my generation will always remember as the most incredible feat by humanity ever. It has been consigned so far in the past now that the grainy black and white images serve the memory as well as recording the feat. Of course, it didn’t take long to get colour pumping but the quality was always reminiscent of radio waves bounced off the ionosphere; hazy and interrupted, as if the signal really had to fight to get back to Earth. Epoch making.

Fast forward to Perseverance and the stunning 4K detail is incredible. Nothing left to the imagination except what’s over the horizon. It really is a visual treat, especially watching the sky crane depart. To think we can get machines to fly in another planet’s atmosphere. Science fiction has become science reality, much more so than when those intrepid astronauts stood on the moon, because Mars has delivered what our imaginations think science fiction should look like. I defy anyone to say they dream in a grainy black and white sci-fi future.

Strangely, the arrival of 4K broadcast capability on Mars may have a big influence on humanity’s commitment to the planet. Perhaps the ‘watchability’ of Perseverance will lead to an audience of hooked fans feeding information and opinion into the wider world that in turn keeps the ambitions of our own colonisation plans alive. And once men and women do set foot on Mars there will undoubtedly be demand for Martian Big Brother. Which would make astronaut selection an interesting process...

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