This chart shows increases in the volume of data coming back from NASA's Mars rover Curiosity over recent sols, or Martian days. The rover has the ability to talk directly to Earth, but its data can be relayed faster, and in larger quantities, with the help of orbiters, including NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and NASA's Odyssey.
New capabilities of the "Electra" relay-radios on MRO and Curiosity, including higher available data rates and a new capability in which the data rate is optimally varied throughout the relay pass, have greatly increased the volume of data the rover is sending back from Mars.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Browse Image | Medium Image | Full Res Image (NASA's Planetary Photojournal)