The Institute of Planetary Research develops the Panoramic Camera for the ExoMars 2018 rover mission together with an international consortium (UK, Austria, Switzerland, and Germany). The Department of Planetary Sensor Systems is responsible for the systems engineering, design, development and test of the High Resolution Camera (HRC) of the PanCam system. Engineering of the optics, structure & housing and the focus mechanism, as well as system-level AIT of the instrument has been subcontracted to Kayser-Threde GmbH, Munich, whereas the complete electronics, and flight and ground software, are provided by DLR-PF.
The High Resolution camera (HRC) has a ~180mm focal length, f/16 lens that illuminates a 4.8° square FOV, CMOS image sensor of1024x1024 pixels. The camera is required to be able to focus between ~0.9m (nearest view to a drill core on the rover’s sample tray) and infinity. Due to the wide distance range over which sharp images of the surface shall be taken with this high resolution, narrow angle camera, refocusing of the HRC optics with an autofocus mechanism is required in order to achieve optimum pixel resolution.