The Microscope for Beagle 2

Thomas, N.; Luthi, B.S.; Hviid, S.F.; Keller, H.U.; Markiewcz, W.J.; Blumchen, T.; Basilevsky, A.T.; Smith, P.H.; Tanner, R.; Oquest, C.; Reynolds, R.; Josset, J-.L.; Beauvivre, S.; Hofmann, B.; Ruffer, P. and Pillinger, C.T. (2004). The Microscope for Beagle 2. Planetary and Space Science, 52(9) pp. 853–866.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pss.2004.02.008

Abstract

The microscope for the Beagle 2 lander, which was launched as part of the European Space Agency's Mars Express mission on 2 June 2003, will provide images of the Martian surface at around 6 μm resolution. It will provide optical images of the surface of Mars at a resolution 5 times higher than any other experiment currently planned. The device has a working distance of 12 mm and uses a set of 12 light-emitting diodes which surround the aperture to illuminate the sample in four colours. The target is brought into focus using a stepper motor. This article describes the scientific objectives and the design of the microscope. It also discusses initial results from ground calibration exercises which were designed to validate the system and describes aspects of its operation.

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