Motiv Space Systems is proposing under the Phase II efforts to prototype a Cryogenic Focus Mechanism (CFM) for planetary cameras operating in extreme cold environments. The focus mechanism is intended to augment typical fixed focus cameras or spectrometers which are commonly integrated into NASA rovers and landers. The provision of a variable focus mechanism will enable greater contextual
imagery for future Navcams, Hazcams, robotic workspace cameras, sample inspection instruments, and any other applications addressed by the current fixed focus imagers. Results of Phase I validated that the CFM could be packaged within the typical volume constraints of a a fixed focal length assembly to promote seamless adoption and integration. The mechanism is designed to operate at
temperatures of -180C and vacuum which will mean it will not need additional thermal resources.
Typical applications of the CFM would be in support of future Mars Rover exploration programs or lander missions to destinations such as Enceladus, Ganymede, Titan or Europa. The CFM enhances the capabilities of context cameras required to take panoramic images, survey the robotic work space, or evaluate collected samples during science operations. Satellite servicing technology demonstration missions can also utilize a focus mechanism to augment operations for performing inspection and repair on government satellites.
The advent of the satellite servicing and space assembly industries will evolve to develop more sophisticated on-orbit, robotic operations. As capabilities mature, the need for higher fidelity imagery will arise. Due to the variable stand-off distances associated with inspection and near field robotic operations, a variable focus imager greatly improves the operator's work space knowledge.