Miniature camera specialists SeeSense have recently supplied four of their IK-HR1P cameras for use in subglacial Antarctica on the Lake Ellsworth Expedition.
The IK-HR1P is actually a Toshiba IK-HR1S 1-CMOS HD C-mount camera especially modified to CS-mount by SeeSense.
The cameras are to be deployed 3km kilometers beneath the Antarctic ice sheet, and the titanium housing containing the cameras has to resist the huge pressures at that depth. It is essential that the viewing port be as small as possible, which means that a small diameter lens was required. This has been chosen from the more comprehensive selection of suitable CS-mount lenses. SeeSense were able to source, test and supply a compact CS-mount wide angle megapixel lenses that just did not exist in the C-mount form.
The camera also benefits from the fact that the lenses supplied were faster than most equivalent wide-angle megapixel C-mount lenses. This isessential as they effectively increase the cameras' working sensitivity, thereby helping to realize their full potential at the bottom of a buried lake.
SeeSense, which are an official sponsor of the Lake Ellsworth Project, has supplied all of the cameras that will see use in several probes under the Antarctic ice sheet.
This will be the first time that these subglacial lakes have been explored. They were covered by ice over 150,000 years ago and could contain microbial life that could shed new light on evolution of life in harsh conditions.