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Jenoptik develops lenses for Mars 2020 mission

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When NASA launches the Mars 2020 mission the first images back to Earth in February of 2021 will be seen through lenses designed and engineered by Jenoptik.

The Jenoptik Light & Optics team in Jupiter, FL have been developing three types of mission critical lenses for use with the Mars Rover’s engineering cameras. Navigation lenses will capture the first live video footage from the mission as the rover explores the surface of Mars, crucially important when the rover drives autonomously. Hazard avoidance lenses will provide images that will help the rover identify obstacles and allow NASA engineers to see the movement of the robotic arm during sample collection. Finally, a cache lens will verify that a complete collection of the rock and soil samples have been achieved. Due to the cache lens’ proximity to the samples collected, to avoid contamination, the cleanliness requirements are extremely challenging.

All three lens types were built in a Jenoptik class 5 clean room with state-of-the-art filtration technology for high-precision optical assemblies. Custom test equipment was developed at Jenoptik to measure the optical performance during the demanding temperature extremes to withstand the conditions on Mars. Jenoptik performed several environmental tests in vacuum and over a wide temperature range with the lowest temperature being -135°C.

“Jenoptik is accustomed to demanding applications requiring expertise in the design, manufacture, and testing of complex optical assemblies in the fields of semiconductor, medical devices and defense industries”, said Jay Kumler, President of Jenoptik Optical Systems in North America. “We are very proud of the technical challenges and rigorous testing we have overcome which has really benefited the entire company, and we are honored to be a part of the monumental mission to Mars.”

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