Optical-Performance Testing of the Laser RetroReflector for InSight
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In the framework of the scientific activities foreseen by the NASA, ASI and INFN agreement for the InSight Mars lander mission (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport), we characterized the optical performance of the LaRRI instrument (Laser RetroReflector for InSight), through two sets of in-air solar-thermo-optical tests carried out at the SCF_Lab (Satellite/lunar/GNSS laser ranging/altimetry and cube/microsat Characterization Facilities Laboratory) of INFN–LNF in Frascati, Italy. The in-air tests consisted of optical and thermal measurements carried out by: (1) varying LaRRI’s bulk temperature (without solar illumination); (2) illuminating LaRRI with a solar spectrum; in both cases, LaRRI was interrogated with a laser at varying incidence angles w.r.t. its surface. This paper describes the tests and their results, which provide a first characterization of LaRRI’s optical and thermal behaviour in approximate Mars surface conditions.
KeywordsLaser retroreflectors and ranging Mars Geophysical Network (MGN) InSight Meridian 0
The SCF_Lab authors would like to thank INFN for supporting an R&D effort on laser microreflectors payloads through the National Scientific Committee n. 5 (2010–2012, experiment MoonLIGHT-ILN) and the realization of INRRI through the National Scientific Committee n. 2 (from 2013, experiment MoonLIGHT-2). This made it possible to deliver INRRI–EDM/2016 in an extremely short time in the summer of 2015 and LaRRI in summer 2017. The INFN authors wish to thank R. Battiston (ASI President) and F. Ferroni (INFN President) for the opportunity to contribute to yet another unprecedented Mars lander mission and to other imminent similar opportunities, like NASA’s Mars 2020 rover mission (Implementing Arrangement already signed by NASA and ASI) and others under discussion.
This article is InSight Contribution Number 54.
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