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Hong Kong PolyU to Collaborate on Mars Launch with China Academy of Space Technology

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HONG KONG, Sept. 24, 2018 — The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) will collaborate with the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) to develop and produce a camera on the spacecraft to Mars scheduled for launch in 2020.

The two parties signed the Collaborative Research and Development Agreement on the Mars Exploration Project in support of the nation's first Mars probe, which aims to conduct an orbital and surface exploration of Mars in a single mission, the first-ever attempt in the world.

The spacecraft for the Mars probe will be composed of an orbiter, a lander, and a rover. Under the Collaborative Agreement, PolyU will design and produce a Mars Landing Surveillance Camera, which will be located on the outside top surface of the Mars Lander. The Mars Camera will monitor the deployment status of the Mars Rover with respect to the status of the solar panel and antenna, as well as the rover's movement. The information is critical for the successful movement of the Mars Rover onto the surface of Mars.

Capitalizing on its experience in developing space tools, PolyU will mobilize a 20-member research team to work closely with CAST experts on the development of the Mars Camera. The device will have to be light in weight, around 380 g, while strong and durable under extreme temperatures during the extended nine-month period of space traveling between Earth and Mars, followed by operation under extremely low temperatures on the Mars surface. It will also be able to tolerate impact shock of 6200 G. Having a wide-angle field of view, the Mars Camera will have low image distortion.

"Among all the difficulties in the R&D work, the two biggest challenges are the wide field of view with low distortion optics under high impact force with little available mass, and the high reliability required under a prolonged period of extreme temperatures, radiation, mechanical vibration,” said professor Yung Kai-Leung, leader of the research team.
Sep 2018
BusinessHong Kong Polytechnic UniversityPolyUChina Academy of Space TechnologycollaborationspaceMarsimagingmars landing surveillance cameraAsia-Pacific

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