What will DS1 do on its mission?

What is MICAS?

One of the advanced technologies Deep Space 1 will test is the Miniature Integrated Camera Spectrometer (MICAS). MICAS has the ability to take pictures using light in space. It can also record other kinds of light images and information, such as exactly what colors are being emitted by an object in space (which can tell us what it's made of) and how much heat is being emitted by something. It can also make an image of the ultraviolet energy coming from something. All of these sensors share a single lens that is 10 cm across.

There are no moving parts in MICAS. The camera is pointed by having the entire spacecraft change its position and attitude.

A MICAS makes images by focusing light onto at CCD (which stands for Charge Coupled Device). A CCD is a large, flat collection of light-sensitive little cells. Light falling on each cell is absorbed. When that happens, the cell releases a quantity of electrons in proportion to the intensity of the light. The CCD thus stores an accumulated electrical charge representing the light level on each cell. Each little cell of the CCD will be a pixel or a tiny portion of a picture.

These charges are subsequently read out for conversion to digital data and transmitted to Earth.

The new CCDs in MICAS are much more sensitive to light of a wider spectrum than previous space camera devices, are less heavy or massive, require less energy, and interface more easily with digital circuitry.

MICAS serves three functions on Deep Space 1.

  1. As with all the advanced technologies, it will be tested during space flight to see if it should be used in future space science missions.
  2. It will gather images for AutoNav's use, when changing or correcting DS1's course.
  3. It will collect valuable scientific data during this mission at the asteroid and possibly the two comets.

MICAS was conceived and developed by a team from the United States Geological Survey, SSG, Inc., the University of Arizona, Boston University, Rockwell Science Center, and JPL.

Figure from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory Deep Space One Web Site: http://nmp.jpl.nasa.gov/ds1/

What MICAS looks like

How does DS1 take pictures?
How is data put on radio waves?
What is AutoNav?

What is electromagnetic radiation?
What kind of data is DS1 sending back?
Why does DS1 have to correct its course?
What is attitude control?

Why are we testing new technologies on DS1?
Why will the Sun damage MICAS?
How do the instruments and sensors coordinate sending signals?
What makes EM radiation?