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Aurora to Design Optics for Lunar Crater Mission
Apr 2007
Aurora Design & Technology of Clearwater, Fla., will produce the optics that will be used to view the light scattered and reflected by an ejecta (dust) cloud as it rises into the sunlight during NASA's Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite Mission (LCROSS). The LCROSS mission will journey to the moon in October 2008 to look for water exists on the moon's south pole, beginning in January 2009. It will send a Centaur upper-stage rocket crashing into the moon at more than twice the speed of a bullet, causing a large impact at the floor of a permanently shadowed lunar crater and subsequently monitoring the ejecta (dust) cloud. The impact will throw tons of debris and potentially water, ice  or vapor above the lunar surface to be analyzed for the presence of hydrated minerals. The data will be collected and analyzed by the shepherding spacecraft (S-S/C) that will follow the Centaur rocket into the dust plume. Two telescopes will feed the light into spectrometers for analysis of the material in the ejecta cloud that will provide data on the chemical makeup of the impact site and the ejected dust cloud during the impact flash and as the reflected sunlight penetrates the dust plume. David A. Landis, Aurora's founder, was responsible for the development of the ultraviolet and visible spectrometer used on the LCROSS mission when he was formerly head of engineering at Ocean Optics, based in Dunedin, Fla.

The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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