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Optics Letters

Optics Letters


  • Editor: Alan E. Willner
  • Vol. 37, Iss. 1 — Jan. 1, 2012
  • pp: 73–75

Feasibility of infrared Earth tracking for deep-space optical communications

Yijiang Chen, Hamid Hemmati, and Gerry G. Ortiz  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Letters, Vol. 37, Issue 1, pp. 73-75 (2012)

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Infrared (IR) Earth thermal tracking is a viable option for optical communications to distant planet and outer-planetary missions. However, blurring due to finite receiver aperture size distorts IR Earth images in the presence of Earth’s nonuniform thermal emission and limits its applicability. We demonstrate a deconvolution algorithm that can overcome this limitation and reduce the error from blurring to a negligible level. The algorithm is applied successfully to Earth thermal images taken by the Mars Odyssey spacecraft. With the solution to this critical issue, IR Earth tracking is established as a viable means for distant planet and outer-planetary optical communications.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(060.4510) Fiber optics and optical communications : Optical communications
(100.1830) Image processing : Deconvolution
(110.3080) Imaging systems : Infrared imaging
(350.6090) Other areas of optics : Space optics

ToC Category:
Fiber Optics and Optical Communications

Original Manuscript: September 6, 2011
Revised Manuscript: November 9, 2011
Manuscript Accepted: November 16, 2011
Published: December 24, 2011

Yijiang Chen, Hamid Hemmati, and Gerry G. Ortiz, "Feasibility of infrared Earth tracking for deep-space optical communications," Opt. Lett. 37, 73-75 (2012)

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  1. A. Biswas, H. Hemmati, S. Piazzolla, B. Moision, K. Birnbaum, and K. Quirk, IPN Progress Report 42-183 (2010).
  2. C. C. Chen, M. Jeganathan, and J. R. Lesh, Proc. SPIE 1417, 240 (1991). [CrossRef]
  3. H. Hemmati, Y. Chen, S. Lee, and G. G. Ortiz, in LEOS Summer Topical Meetings (IEEE, 2005), pp. 27–28.
  4. S. Lee, G. G. Ortiz, W. T. Roberts, and J. W. Alexander, IPN Progress Report 42-155 (2003).
  5. This key implementation obstacle was first raised in a private communication by C. C. Chen, an author of [2], and was addressed and presented very preliminarily at Phononics West conference. Y. Chen, G. G. Ortiz, H. Hemmati, and S. Lee, Proc. SPIE 6105, 61050E (2006).
  6. W. K. Pratt, Digital Image Processing (Wiley, 2001), Chapt. 15.
  7. http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/odyssey/ .

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