As discussed earlier, the Mars rover Curiosity uses KAI-2020 image sensors in its scientific cameras to better understand the geological history of the planet and capture stunning panoramas of the Martian landscape (as well as some pretty neat selfies). And while the images coming from Curiosity are undoubtedly impressive, this actually isn’t the first time our image sensors have landed on the surface of another planet. The story begins in 1997, when KAI-0371 image sensors from Eastman Kodak’s image sensor group (now part of ON Semiconductor) were used as the “eyes” of the Mars rover Sojourner. This was the first rover to explore the surface of Mars, and these image sensors enabled the rover to see its way across the Martian terrain and capture color images of the ground and soil.
The 41st annual GOMAC Tech conference is in full swing. Each year hundreds of government and industry professionals attend this conference to discuss what was, what is and what’s next for government electronics. What better way to escape winter than to converge on the Orlando Wyndham Resort in Orlando, Florida. Grapefruit league baseball, stunning golf and a variety of theme parks provide the perfect backdrop for this gathering.
On January 19, 2006, the New Horizons spacecraft was launched from Cape Canaveral aboard an Atlas V rocket. The goal of this mission was to explore Pluto and the mysterious Kuiper Belt. If successful, the United States would be the first nation to complete the initial reconnaissance of the solar system. But this was no ordinary journey. Discovered in 1930 by Clyde W. Tombaugh, Pluto is more than 2.9 billion miles from earth, has an elliptical orbit and takes 248 years to circle the sun. Since its discovery, Pluto has only traversed thirty five percent of its full orbit. As a result, scientists did not have a complete set of measurements to confirm its exact position when New Horizons reached its destination. Based on their calculations with this limited data, they predicted a fly-by in summer, 2015, nine and a half years after launch.