e2v has provided NASA’s New Horizons Mission with two image sensors which hope to capture the first ever close-up images of Pluto.
LORRI is a black and white telescopic camera which has a 1k x 1k pixel image sensor at its core.
Paul Jerram, Chief Engineer of Image Sensors at e2v, commented, “LORRI is very similar to the Navcam image sensor we made for the Rosetta mission, which has been producing the majority of the incredible images of comet 67p. LORRI will be providing images of the approach to Pluto, as well as high resolution geological data as New Horizons passes the dwarf-planet.”
Ralph is a 5k wide multi-colour scanning imager which will produce a full colour image of the surface of Pluto as New Horizons flies past. Paul Jerram continues, “Ralph is highly bespoke, in fact it is seven different CCDs (Coupled Charged Devices) made on the same substrate, providing a complete focal plane within a single sensor. As the spacecraft is travelling at 33,000 miles per hour and there is 1,000 times less sunlight at Pluto than at the Earth, this image sensor has to be extremely sensitive and has to work perfectly for the short time that the spacecraft is close to Pluto.”
NASA publishes the first Pluto images received from New Horizons Mission: