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Satnews Daily
May 13th, 2010

ESA... Peeking Back @ Earth

Proba-2 Exploration Camera (X-Cam) monochrome image of Argentina, acquired January 15, 2010. Capital city Buenos Aires is visible to the top left; the Rio Negro river can also be seen. Credits: ESA/Micro-Cameras & Space Exploration
While ESA’s Proba-2 keeps its main instruments trained on the Sun, it is also looking back to its homeworld. This wide-angle view of Earth comes from an experimental camera that is smaller than an espresso cup.

Proba-2 is flight-testing a total of 17 technology demonstrators for future ESA missions.

The Exploration Camera (X-Cam) is carried on the underside of Proba-2, one of 17 new technologies being tested by the mini-satellite. Observing in the visible and near-infrared with a 100 degree field-of–view, its monochrome images resemble what an astronaut might see if elevated to Proba-2’s 800 km orbit. This image shows southern Argentina including Buenos Aires (top left) and the Rio Negro river.

It also serves as a scientific platform for solar and space weather observations. Credits: ESA/Pierre Carril

X-Cam was designed by Swiss company Micro-Cameras & Space Exploration. It is the latest in a series of miniature cameras built by the company for previous ESA missions including Proba-1, SMART-1 and Rosetta.