Mini-EUSO

The Mini-EUSO telescope is designed to perform observations of the UV light emission from Earth. It will be located in front of the UV transparent window in the Zvezda Russian module in the ISS, looking at Earth in nadir position.

The Mini-EUSO instrument comprises a compact telescope with a large field of view, ±21 degrees, based on an optical system employing two Fresnel lenses (25 cm of diameter) for increasing light collection. The UV light is focused onto a Photo-Detector-Module (PDM) similar to EUSO-Balloon and EUSO-TA ones.

The main Mini-EUSO objectives are the study of atmospheric phenomena, like Transient Luminous Events (TLEs), meteors and meteoroides, the search for Strange Quark Matter (SQM) and the detection of some cosmic ray showers. Furthermore, Mini-EUSO could represent the first step in a roadmap of potential debris removal via laser ablation.

Mini-EUSO has been approved by the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos and included, with the name UV Atmosphere, into Russian “Stage program of scientific and applied research and experiments”. It has also been approved and funded by the Italian Space Agency (ASI). Technical requirements for installation inside the ISS have been studied by RSC “Energia”. The Flight Model (FM) has been completed and has been shipped to Moscow for acceptance tests in July 2019.

Mini-EUSO telescope has been launched on August 22 at 3:38 UTC from the Baikonur cosmodrome and docked to ISS on August 27. Currently the instrument is in commissioning phase. Figure below shows Mini-EUSO first light.Click here to see more photos and video of the launch.

In figure, Mini-EUSO first light acquisition from ISS over Africa: the black line shows total light gathered on the focal surface, peaks are due to city light, lighting and background increases as the moon rises. The frames (40.96 ms each) in the picture (darker color means brighter signal) refer to different location of the acquisition. During the first switch on only 1 element out of 9 of the focal surface was on for safety reasons.

fig-mini-euso2_s

Mini-EUSO Focal Surface   Mini-EUSO Front Lens   Mini-EUSO FM integrated   Mini-EUSO FM during vibration tests Mini-EUSO FM during vibration tests Mini-EUSO FM integrated during functional tests
Mini-EUSO Focal Surface