The ESA and Roscosmos mission to investigate trace gases in the Martian atmosphere has been launched today. It is part of the 2016-2018 ExoMars programme that aims to establish if life ever existed on Mars. e2v high performance sensors equipped the Nadir and Occultation for MArs Discovery instrument (NOMAD), which combines three spectrometers to perform high sensitivity orbital identification of Mars’ atmospheric components.
NOMAD is composed of two infrared and one ultraviolet spectrometer and is three times more accurate than previous orbit and ground based instruments sent to study Mars. e2v provided 6 back illuminated Charge Coupled Devices (CCDs) CCD30-11 for use in the ultraviolet and visible (UVIS) channel of NOMAD to the Open University who developed the instrument, together with other institutes.
e2v’s sensors have a 1024 x 256 pixel format with 26um pixels, an enhanced back thinning process, UV optimised coating and a wide dynamic range which is ideal for scientific spectroscopy.
After being awarded the contract in 2012, e2v successfully delivered the project in a one year timeframe, meeting all milestones and carrying out extensive lot acceptance testing including screening tests, mechanical, environmental, endurance, assembly and control tests.
Manish Patel, Co-Principal Investigator from the Open University, United Kingdom commented, “We have built a strong relationship with e2v through our connection via the e2v centre for electronic imaging (CEI) at the Open University. We chose e2v due to its heritage and long expertise in providing science-quality CCD technology for space missions. The detector that will be used in the UVIS channel of the NOMAD instrument will allow us to perform UV and visible spectroscopy of the martian atmosphere, to globally map ozone, clouds and dust over the mission lifetime.”
Christophe Tatard, Vice President in Space Imaging at e2v, commented, “In partnership with our customers, our contribution to NOMAD successfully combined our technological expertise in bespoke imaging sensor solutions with CEI’s significant testing experience and instrument development. We’re proud that our space imaging solution will help support scientists discover more about life on Mars.”
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Notes to Editors:
Bringing life to technology, e2v partners with its customers to improve, save and protect people’s lives. Delivering innovative technology for high performance systems and equipment, e2v leads developments in communications, automation, discovery, healthcare and the environment.
e2v employs approximately 1750 people worldwide, has design and operational facilities across Europe, North America and Asia, and has a global network of sales and technical support offices. e2v has annual sales of GB225M as at 31 March 2015 and is listed on the London Stock Exchange. For more information www.e2v.com