REDMOND, Washington – August 6, 2012
-- NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) concluded a 350-million mile journey on Monday with the deployment of its large Curiosity rover on the Martian surface. Curiosity carries 17 cameras and instruments that were designed by NASA’s engineers, scientists and contractors with the help of Zemax optical and illumination design software.
Zemax is widely used at NASA and throughout its global network of contractors.
“We’re proud to know that Zemax is playing a role in the success of this exciting mission,” said Ken Moore, PhD, chief technology officer, Radiant Zemax LLC. “Zemax is the tool of choice worldwide for engineers involved in demanding optics and illumination projects. Zemax is ideally suited to design, simulate and optimize optical systems for the rigors of planetary exploration.”
Zemax was used to help design optics in the following systems on Curiosity:
The MSL Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) recorded the descent to the Martian surface and is utilized in the mapping of surrounding terrain.
Two MastCam cameras provide multiple spectra and true-color imaging.
The Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera is mounted to a robotic arm on the rover and is used to acquire microscopic images of rock and soil.
One ChemCam spectrometer utilizes a laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) system to vaporize and analyze a small amount of rock or soil.
Four NavCam cameras are mounted on the mast. These black-and-white cameras use visible light to gather panoramic, three-dimensional (3D) imagery.
Eight HazCam cameras are mounted on the lower portion of the front and rear of the rover. These black-and-white cameras use visible light to capture 3-D imagery and to safeguard against the rover getting lost.
Zemax is used to design optical systems on numerous NASA spacecraft, including two previous Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. Opportunity landed on Mars in 2004 and continues to operate and capture spectacular imaging.
Learn more about Zemax and Curiosity at: RadiantZemax.com/Curiosity
Zemax 12 Release 2
The Zemax product family, first introduced in 1990, has a community of thousands of users around the world. It is used in the design and analysis of optical and illumination design systems and it plays a critical role in innovation. The most current version, Zemax 12 Release 2, was released in July 2012. Thousands of common products and advanced systems, from smartphone camera lenses and roadway lighting to Mars rovers, include parts that are designed with Zemax.
About Radiant Zemax
World leaders in optics, lighting and display devices turn to Radiant Zemax for high value design, test and measurement systems that reduce costs, lower risk and shorten time-to-innovation. Radiant Zemax product lines include Zemax optical and illumination design software, TrueTest automated optical inspection for display systems and ProMetric imaging colorimeters, photometers and light source measurement systems. Headquartered in Redmond, Washington, Radiant Zemax delivers optics, light and color technology leadership, service and support to clients around the world. Learn more at: RadiantZemax.com
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Mark Nicholson, PhD
Radiant Zemax, LLC