A custom laser scanning confocal microscope was developed and built for ESA to investigate cell behavior in orbit. In addition, we had to make sure it could withstand the extreme space conditions.
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Coupled with a 1024 x 768 microbolometer sensor, the developed infrared optics covers a spectral range going from 8 to 14 µm. The key benefit is enhanced spatial resolution with a Ground Sampling Distance of 57 m for a flight altitude of 450 km. At this altitude, one single image covers a field of view (FOV) of 57 km (swath) x 43 km. Another advantage of the optical configuration is passive thermal compensation (no active focus). Typical thermal resolution is around 100 mK.
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