The VIR Spectrometer
The Dawn spectrometer (VIR) is a hyperspectral spectrometer with imaging capability. The design fully accomplishes Dawn’s scientific and measurement objectives. Determination of the mineral composition of surface materials in their geologic context is a primary Dawn objective. The nature of the solid compounds of the asteroid (silicates, oxides, salts, organics and ices) can be identified by visual and infrared spectroscopy using high spatial resolution imaging to map the heterogeneity of asteroid surfaces and high spectral resolution spectroscopy to determine the composition unambiguously. The VIR Spectrometer—covering the range from the near UV (0.25 μm) to the near IR (5.0 μm) and having moderate to high spectral resolution and imaging capabilities—is the appropriate instrument for the determination of the asteroid global and local properties. VIR combines two data channels in one compact instrument. The visible channel covers 0.25–1.05 μm and the infrared channel covers 1–5.0 μm. VIR is inherited from the VIRTIS mapping spectrometer (Coradini et al. in Planet. Space Sci. 46:1291–1304, 1998; Reininger et al. in Proc. SPIE 2819:66–77, 1996) on board the ESA Rosetta mission. It will be operated for more than 2 years and spend more than 10 years in space.