When we talk about planetary exploration missions most people think spontaneously about fascinating images from other planets or close-up pictures of small planetary bodies such as asteroids and comets. Such images come in most cases from VIS/NIR- imaging- systems, simply called ‘cameras’, which were typically built by institutes in collaboration with industry. Until now, they have nearly all been based on silicon CCD sensors, they have filter wheels and have often high power-consuming electronics.
The question is, what are the challenges for future missions and what can be done to improve performance and scientific output. The exploration of Mars is ongoing. NASA and ESA are planning future missions to the outer planets like to the icy Jovian moons. Exploration of asteroids and comets are in focus of several recent and future missions. Furthermore, the detection and characterization of exo-planets will keep us busy for next generations.
The paper is discussing the challenges and visions of imaging sensors for future planetary exploration missions. The focus of the talk is monolithic VIS/NIR- detectors.
We present a review of the contributions by students, staff, faculty and alumni to the Nation’s space program over the past 50 years. The balloon polariscope led the way to future space optics missions. The missions Pioneer Venus (large probe solar flux radiometer), Pioneer 10/11 (imaging photopolarimeter) to Jupiter and Saturn, Hubble Space Telescope (HST), and next generation large aperture space telescopes are discussed.
After a picture-perfect launch to Mars on August 4, 2007, the Phoenix mission will land near 70° N on the
northern lowlands on May 25, 2008 and perform an in situ investigation of the ice layer discovered by the Mars Odyssey
scientists in 2002. Mars undergoes climate change through obliquity and orbital variations on time periods of 50,000
years. By analyzing the minerals, aqueous chemistry, and grain shapes of the soil associated with the ice, Phoenix will
determine whether the ice has ever melted and modified the soil properties. Since water is a necessary substance for life
on Earth, a major question for the mission is whether the northern plains represent a habitable zone on Mars. Besides
water. the Phoenix team will assess the organic content of the soil and ice as well as the abundances of biologically
active elements. Finally, the transport of water through soils and atmosphere is measured using a Canadian
meteorological station supplemented by probes to evaluate soil conductivity.
Conference Committee Involvement (2)
Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology XI
12 August 2008 | San Diego, California, United States
Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology X
28 August 2007 | San Diego, California, United States