CHELMSFORD, England, Aug. 16 -- Sensors from e2v technologies will capture images of unprecedented resolution and volume via the HiRISE (High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) telescopic camera on board NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The telescope will be used in particular to look for clues on the planet's water and ice history.
The HiRISE combines very high resolution and signal-to-noise ratio with a large swath width. This will enable the e2v image sensors incorporated into the HiRISE camera to capture images of selected swaths of the surface of Mars at scales as little as one meter.
The HiRISE Operations Center (HiROC) at the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory is responsible for the majority of the ground data system work for the HiRISE instrument. Observation planning, uplink, downlink, data processing and instrument monitoring will all be done through HiROC. Developers of HiRISE, also known as "the people's camera," encourage public viewing/analysis of HiRISE images and submission of observation requests. (For information on participating, visit: marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/HiRISE/)
e2v has supplied a total of fifty CCD image sensors to Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. for the Mars probe, 25 of which were flight models. Ball Aerospace arranged the 2048 x 128 x 12-micron pixel TDI (time delay integrated) back-illuminated devices to form a long imager and to generate the high swath width required.
About 2 percent of the surface of Mars will be mapped during the mission's four-year polar orbital mission. At an altitude of 255 kilometres, information will be gathered and analyzed to determine whether the current cold and dry planet used to be warmer and wetter, possibly providing a habitat for life forms at one time. The detailed reconnaissance will also enable NASA to identify suitable landing zones for future planned robotic explorers; NASA scientists also hope to establish whether the planet could support human outposts.
For more information, visit: imaging.e2v.com