UV Lenses for the Red Planet

UV lenses and mirrors used on the SHERLOC spectrometer on board NASA’s Mars Rover Perseverance (Source: Teledyne)

NASA’s Mars 2020 mission is the next instalment of the long-term effort to robotically explore Mars, currently en route, about one third in its cruise. This mission addresses current high-priority scientific goals, including trying to answer the question of whether there are signs of past microbial life on the planet.

By studying an astrobiologically relevant ancient environment on Mars, the Perseverance aims to investigate its history and surface geological processes, including whether it may have been habitable, to assess the possibility of previous life on the planet. The Perseverance will also determine whether it is possible that biosignatures have been preserved within accessible geological materials. In addition, the Perseverance will gather knowledge and demonstrate technologies to assess potential challenges that may be associated with future human expeditions, such as the testing of an oxygen producing method, and the characterization of environmental conditions.

The Perseverance rover carries seven instruments to conduct its science and exploration technology investigations. (Source: NASA, JPL / Caltech)

Teledyne Acton Optics, part of Teledyne Princeton Instruments, provided key optical components of the SHERLOC spectrometer. These included lenses and mirrors incorporated into the Conditioning Optics Modules of the system, lenses for the Context Imager Lens Assembly, and broadband mirrors for the Spectrometer Module. SHERLOC is mounted onto the arm of the rover and uses both Raman and luminescence spectroscopy to search for minerals and organics that have been altered by watery environments, indicative of potential past microbial life.

In addition to Teledyne Acton Optics, Teledyne e2v provided a CCD42-10 sensor for the SuperCam and SHERLOC instruments on the Perseverance to aid the search for organic compounds and minerals, and to see if there has been any water based influence on the environments, providing signs of previous microbial life on Mars.

Teledyne Dalsa’s Bromont semiconductor foundry built the JPL-designed CCD image sensor that powers SkyCam, part of the Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer. SkyCam is one of the Radiation and Dust Sensor instruments monitoring sky brightness at different times over a wavelength and geometry range to characterize dust, solar radiation and thermal radiation. (Source: Teledyne)

Links: Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals SHERLOC, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Washington, DC, USATeledyne Acton Optics, Princeton Instruments, part of the Teledyne Imaging group, Acton, Mass., USA

 

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