Athena Microscopic Imager investigation

Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets
By: , and 



The Athena science payload on the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) includes the Microscopic Imager (MI). The MI is a fixed‐focus camera mounted on the end of an extendable instrument arm, the Instrument Deployment Device (IDD). The MI was designed to acquire images at a spatial resolution of 30 microns/pixel over a broad spectral range (400–700 nm). The MI uses the same electronics design as the other MER cameras but has optics that yield a field of view of 31 × 31 mm across a 1024 × 1024 pixel CCD image. The MI acquires images using only solar or skylight illumination of the target surface. A contact sensor is used to place the MI slightly closer to the target surface than its best focus distance (about 66 mm), allowing concave surfaces to be imaged in good focus. Coarse focusing (∼2 mm precision) is achieved by moving the IDD away from a rock target after the contact sensor has been activated. The MI optics are protected from the Martian environment by a retractable dust cover. The dust cover includes a Kapton window that is tinted orange to restrict the spectral bandpass to 500–700 nm, allowing color information to be obtained by taking images with the dust cover open and closed. MI data will be used to place other MER instrument data in context and to aid in petrologic and geologic interpretations of rocks and soils on Mars.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Athena Microscopic Imager investigation
Series title Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets
DOI 10.1029/2003JE002076
Volume 108
Issue E12
Year Published 2003
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Publisher location Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s) Astrogeology Science Center
Description 23 p.
Other Geospatial Mars
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