This lecture is part of the free and open to the public lecture series for the Royal Astronomical Society and will take place online.
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ExoMars PanCam and Planetary Protection
Mars, the most visited planet in our solar system, will soon receive another visitor. The European Space Agency’s Rosalind Franklin rover is due for launch from Baikonur, Kazakhstan in Summer 2022, arriving in March 2023. The rover will be looking for signs of water-rich minerals which may be indicators of past life on the Red Planet. PanCam is the panoramic camera for the Rosalind Franklin – its scientific eyes through which we will be able to take a close-up look at the local Martian geology. A big challenge for the mission, among other things, is fulfilling the Planetary Protection requirement: an international standard established by the Committee on Space Research to protect against interplanetary biological and organic contamination. In this talk, Anna will delve into some of the challenges faced by the PanCam team in producing a bespoke camera system for a planetary mission and how they managed to overcome them.
About the speaker:
Anna Nash is an AIT (Assembly, Integration, and Testing) & Contamination Control Engineer at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, the home of UCL’s Department for Space & Climate Physics. Having graduated from the University of Exeter with a degree in Physics, she wanted to gain more hands-on experience in cleanroom laboratories and was intrigued by MSSL’s flight programmes. Since joining MSSL, she has primarily been involved in the ExoMars PanCam project, the panoramic camera for ESA’s Rosalind Franklin rover which is being launched in July/August 2022. She has been involved in carrying out thermal vacuum testing and calibration of PanCam and helps to ensure compliance with the project’s Planetary Protection requirement.