Welcome to the web site of the Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System (CaSSIS) built at the University of Bern. All you need to know about CaSSIS can be found on these pages.
Are you looking for information about the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter mission to Mars CaSSIS is a part of or learn more about CaSSIS itself please visit the instrument page.
Should you be interested in the science that will be done with CaSSIS or want to download data (when they come in) to do science please visit the science page.
If you are seeking media information you will find information on the press page.
Would you like to contact us and learn about our team then the about us page is your destination.
News & Events
Getting ready to orbit
The control room at ESOC in Darmstadt where they will be watching over the Mars Orbit Insertion. Many of the guys in the picture are well-known to us through our regular meetings. Big responsibility for them coming. Good luck, everyone.
CaSSIS was successfully upgraded to version 16 of the flight software. This sounds very boring but is actually pretty important. The previous version contained issues connected to the housekeeping telemetry. This telemetry was not being returned properly. Having fixed it, not merely does the CaSSIS team get better visibility of the instrument behaviour but ESOC in Darmstadt can see our housekeeping allowing them to alert us much more quickly if something is wrong. The image shows the output produced in real-time by ESOC's support computer. The TM was automatically calibrated to give real values.
Why wasn't this correct in the first place? Misunderstanding of the protocols.
SPIE Proceedings about CaSSIS
Two new technical papers about CaSSIS and its calibration have been put online. These papers were presented at the SPIE conference in Edinburgh.
De Sio, A., V. Da Deppo, L. Gambicorti, M. Gerber, R. Ziethe, G. Cremonese, and N. Thomas, (2016), Alignment procedure for detector integration and characterization of the CaSSIS instrument onboard the TGO mission, Proc. SPIE 9904, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2016: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave, 990452 (July 29, 2016); doi:10.1117/12.2232080
Gambicorti, L., D. Piazza , A. Pommerol , V. Roloff, M. Gerber, R. Ziethe, M. R. El-Maarry, T. Weigel, M. Johnson, D. Vernani, E. Pelo, V. Da Deppo, G. Cremonese, I. Ficai Veltroni, and N. Thomas, (2016), The CaSSIS imaging system: optical performance overview, Proc. SPIE 9904, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2016: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave, 99041E (July 29, 2016); doi:10.1117/12.2233255
The Bundesrat visits Bern and CaSSIS
The Federal Council of Switzerland visited the Space Research Division of the University to view progress on Rosetta/ROSINA, CHEOPS, and ExoMars/CaSSIS. The picture shows the CaSSIS PI explaining aspects of CaSSIS and the CaST targetting tool to (left to right) Federal Chancellor Walter Thurnherr, Bundesrat members Simonetta Sommaruga and Doris Leuthard, and new Rector of the University, Christian Leumann.
First image of Mars
CaSSIS obtained its first image of Mars on 13 June 2016. This image was taken from 41 million kilometres and shows the Elysium side of Mars (Tharsis is towards the right limb). At the time, Mars was roughly 15 pixels in diameter and one can see clearly the different reflectivity of the surface on this hemisphere.
The rotation motor moves!
The rotation motor was tested on 13 April 2016 and it appeared to work. The plot shows the position angle of the rotation motor and it seemed to be OK. Homing was successful. Images were also acquired that confirmed the motor had moved. We are continuing to analyse this.
During the first switch-on, we were able to see stars down to about visual magnitude 11 with CaSSIS in 2 second exposures. We were able to identify the starfield and name the stars using standard databases (SIMBAD). The plot shows the identified stars. The size of the diamonds is roughly proportional to the brightness of the star. The coordinates (x and y) give the detector positions for the stars.
First Switch-On of CaSSIS
CaSSIS successfully switched on. Data were acquired. More to come in the next few days.
Setting Default Window Sizes and Positions on the Detector
We are just setting the default window sizes and positions on the detector. We need to specify the rows that will be returned to give us the four filtered images. The filters are fixed above the detector. Antoine has looked at this and provided the numbers. They will be 354-633 PAN; 712-967 RED;1048-1303 NIR; 1409-1664 BLU
CaSSIS switched on in Baikonur. Seems OK but we need to check in detail.
TGO now in Baikonur
TGO has been transported to Baikonur.
System Verification Test
The System Verification Test (SVT) has been completed. CaSSIS commanded from Darmstadt by ESOC. Instrument in Cannes on the spacecraft. We acquired 44 images and 1 incomplete image. Couple of bugs were found but it looks pretty good. Example image is below. Yes. It is dark. The aperture cover was on!
Press conference to show spacecraft is ready to ship to Baikonur.
..... and a quote or two ...... http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-34919025
CaSSIS on the spacecraft
CaSSIS is now on the spacecraft!!
No pictures ... not allowed ..... CaSSIS is on the spacecraft.
Arrival in Cannes
The cans are in Cannes .... I feel a tune coming on.
ESA are just leaving after the Delivery Review Board meeting. The meeting closed with us being given permission to ship to Cannes!!! This is not acceptance to fly. That has to go through the flight acceptance review and we still have to justify some waivers and ..... stuff. But the truck leaves on Monday morning as planned.
The Mass of CaSSIS
Metrology. Centre of gravity, mass and moment of inertia being measured.
Update: Mass is 18.009 kg (300 g over our original guess = 1.7%... not bad.)
The CaSSIS team in Bern (minus 4 guys who were busy elsewhere and Harry without whom .......)
Heat Test of Electronics
We have to check whether electronics components get too hot when they are run in vacuum. You have no air to conduct heat away in space and so things can get hot really fast. Our thermal IR pictures show that the heat sinks we are using to keep the power supply voltage converters cool work pretty well.
Coated Electronics Boards
The electronics boards are coated and in their frames ready for final integration. However, first our Hungarian colleagues will arrive tomorrow for flight software debug. So we stay open for the moment just in case we have a hardware issue.
PI in the lab! The hardware got a prime visit today.
Electronics Boards Inspected
Inspection of the electronics boards by ESA completed. They are now in coating and will be integrated into the electronics box this afternoon.
Power Converter Module Arrived
The flight model power converter module has just arrived. Our Polish colleagues from SRC, Warsaw, are here to supervise the integration with the other flight boards. We are not expecting major problems because they already delivered us an engineering board which is very similar. However, it has to be tested in the next 2-3 days.
Teams that work over the weekend require "support".
The interface plate has been attached to the tripod ready to mount the FPA to the telescope. Why do we need this? Well the telescope is carbon-fibre and the FPA is aluminium - so we have a mismatch in the coefficients of thermal expansion. This hardware helps us solve that problem.
Telescope Ready for Collimator
Telescope on the tower ready to be aligned with the collimator. FPA is currently being integrated with its radiator and will go on the telescope for the first time on Monday morning.