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MOSSCA: MOdular Scientific Smart CAmera 

The MOSSCA is a scientific smart camera, committed by INAF Roma, that consists in separate modules that can be properly stacked in order to implement a wide range of configurations to meet specific requirements for different industrial and scientific applications.

Mossca up & down.png
MOSSCA main features

MOSSCA electronics is based on the following main modules:

  • Detector Block (DB): with the CMOS sensor selected among a wide range of supported parts 

  • Control Block (CB): with the sensor interface and control FPGA and the DDR4 modules for image temporary storing.

  • High Computing Block (HCB): with the processing modules (PM), the SSD modules and the AI accelerator modules

MOSSCA modular architecture approach allows to:
  • use different CMOS sensors only designing the detector block and reusing the Control Block and High Computing Block properly configured and programmed

  • configure the camera with the processing functions either in charge of an external PC (DB + CB)  or integrated inside the camera (DB + CB + HCB)

  • configure the CB with or without the DDR4 module

  • configure the HCB with or without the SSD module

  • configure the HCB with or without the AI module

  • configure the HCB with different PMs: different microprocessors, different peripheral resources and memory types and sizes

MOSSCA Configurations.png

Ordering Information

Detectors Block:

  • IMX-426 = 0.5 Mpxl 12 bit @600fps max

  • IMX_537 = 5 Mpxl 12 bit @100fps max

  • others ...

DDR4 Modules (SODIMM):

  • 32GB (usable 16GB max)

Processing Modules (SMARC):

  • ATOM Intel E3940 + 4GB DDR3L + 32GB eMMC
  • others ...
SSD Modules (PCIe):
  • 250 GB SSD NVMe, Gen3 x 4 PCIe, M.2
  • other sizes ...
AI Modules (PCIe):
  • Coral M.2 Accelerator 2280 Single core
  • others ...
  • No Cooling
  • TEC + AIR forced Cooling
  • TEC + Liquid Cooling

Please contact for price, delivery time, documentation and any further customization requests.


MOSSCA software depends on the possible configurations:

  • PC-Camera (DB + CB): the camera is directly connected to an external PC through a USB connection. The camera has a USB driver for both Linux and Windows 10 operating systems and can be accessed through INDI (Linux, Windows) or ASCOM (Windows) standard drivers, so that it can be used with any client application supporting these standards.

  • Smart Camera (DB + CB + HCB) with Atom based PM: This configuration supports both Ubuntu Linux and Windows 10 on board operating systems, both supporting HDMI, WiFi, Ethernet, USB and UART. This configuration supports both SSD and external PCIe AI accelerator modules.

  • Smart Camera (DB + CB + HCB) with IMX-8 based PM: This configuration supports only Ubuntu Linux operating system with HDMI, WiFi, Ethernet, USB, UART and CAN bus. Moreover the processor has an internal microcontroller which can be programmed to enable strict real time management of peripherals. This configuration supports either an SSD or an external PCIe AI accelerator module.


Each block has its own specific mechanics that can be simply stacked one another to implement the required system.

  • The DB mechanics consists on the DB box and the TOP cover with the optical window and the telescope interface.

  • Top and bottom side of the DB box are closed with o-rings toward the TOP cover and the heat-sink respectively in order to obtain a vacuum proof chamber.

  • Through an air valve it is possible to either remove air from the DB box or fill it with inert gas like Argon or Krypton.

  • The CB and the HCB mechanics consist on the CB box and the HCB box respectively.

  • The Camera has a quad base of 96 mm x 96 mm, while its height is 127 mm with the HCB and 79 mm without the HCB.


The AST-MOSSCA is fully configurable also in terms of cooling system implementation:

  • No Cooling: the CMOS sensor is not cooled so neither a Peltier cell nor a cooling heat-sink are present

  • Air Cooling: the CMOS sensor is cooled by a Peltier cell whose hot side is cooled by air forced by fans

  • Liquid Cooling: the CMOS sensor is cooled by a Peltier cell whose hot side is cooled by liquid forced by an external circuit

The mechanics are independent from the selected cooling system and do not need to be substituted when changing the camera cooling system.


MOSSCA provides an interface toward lens or telescope of type “C” (Spec 1-32UN-2A) with the following mechanical characteristics:

  • Diameter: 1”

  • Pitch of 32 threads per inch

  • Metric: M25.5 x 0.75 mm

  • Back focal distance: 17.526 mm

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