InGaAs cameras search for water on moon

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SWIR-InGaAs cameras have been engineered onboard NASA's Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) spacecraft to aid in the search for the presence or absence of water ice on the moon.

At 7:30am (EDT) on 9 October 2009, the LCROSS spacecraft will separate into two sections, with the Centaur rocket impacting the lunar surface, kicking up a large plume of dust. The shepherding spacecraft section, with the cameras onboard, will follow four minutes later to image and analyse the resultant dust plume for water vapour. InGaAs cameras from Sensors Unlimited, part of Goodrich ISR Systems, are ideal for detecting the strong moisture contrast in the shortwave infrared and will be used to confirm the presence or absence of water ice in the dust cloud.

Ed Hart, VP and general manager of Goodrich ISR Systems, noted: 'We are delighted that two of our InGaAs-SWIR cameras are part of this exciting mission to determine whether there is water on the moon. Both Goodrich cameras were selected for the mission over three years ago and integrated into the imaging payload of the shepherding spacecraft. Since the launch a few weeks ago, they have been checked out in space and are working well.'