DECA – the descent camera on Schiaparelli – with lens-cap
This is a picture of DECA, the DEscent CAmera on Schiaparelli, the ExoMars 2016 entry, descent and landing demonstrator module.
DECA is the flight spare of the VMC (Visual Monitoring Camera), which flew on the Herschel spacecraft. It will be used to determine the transparency of the martian atmosphere, to perform high-resolution imaging of the Schiaparelli landing site, and to generate 3-D topography of the surface of the landing region.
This camera has a mass of 0.6 kg and dimensions of about 9 cm × 9 cm × 9 cm. The red plastic circle in the middle is the lens protector, which will be removed before flight.
DECA will start taking images after the front-shield of Schiaparelli has been jettisoned during the journey through the martian atmosphere to the planet's surface. It will take 15 images at 1.5 s intervals. These images will be stored in local memory. To avoid electrostatic discharges affecting the instrument, there will be a delay of several minutes after Schiaparelli has landed on the surface of Mars, before the data are read out by Schiaparelli's computer and subsequently downlinked to Earth.
DECA was designed and built by Optique et Instruments de Précision (OIP) in Belgium for ESA.