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A Concept for the Deployment of a Large Lunar Crater Radio Telescope Using Teams of Tethered Robots

Show simple item record McGarey, Patrick Bandyopadhyay, Saptarshi Rafizadeh, Ramin Goel, Ashish Arya, Manan Nesnas, Issa Lazio, Joe Goldsmith, Paul Stoica, Adrian Quadrelli, Marco Hallinan, Greg 2022-01-12T18:21:18Z 2022-01-12T18:21:18Z 2020-10-19
dc.identifier.citation VIRTUAL The International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Automation in Space (i-SAIRAS) 2020, Pasadena, California, October 19-23, 2020
dc.identifier.clearanceno CL#20-4331
dc.description.abstract Kilometer-scale craters on the far side of the Moon have unique potential as future locations for large radio telescopes, which can observe the universe at wavelengths and frequencies (> 10 m, < 30 MHz) not possible with conventional Earth or orbital-based approaches. Distinct advantages of building a Lunar Crater Radio Telescope (LCRT) on the far side include i) isolation from radio noise due to the Earth’s ionosphere, orbiting satellites, and the Sun, ii) days of uninterrupted dark/cold sky viewing during lunar night, and iii) terrain geometry naturally suited for constructing the largest mesh antenna structure in the Solar System. A key challenge to constructing LCRT on the Moon is related to the complexity of deploying a 1-km diameter antenna and hanging receiver within a lunar crater whose diameter, depth, and slope are 3-5 km, 1 km, and ~30 degrees respectively. In this paper, we first evaluate the trade space for deploying a large, complex structure within a crater, and then provide a more detailed concept evaluation of our favored approach, which employs coordinated teams of tethered rovers to extract and suspend a folded antenna from a lander at the base of a crater. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in collaboration with California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have developed a novel robotic system for accessing extremely steep terrains; the Axel rover is a two-wheeled rugged terrain vehicle that is supported by an electro-mechanical tether that provides power, data, and tensile support from a top-side anchor location. Recently, a pair of Axel robots have been used in a DuAxel configuration that allows for four-wheel driving and repeated passive anchoring at different locations. The DuAxel system has unique advantages for deploying an LCRT antenna, including the ability to deploy from a lander near a crater, drive a distance to the crater rim to deploy an Axel, and later, retract the deployed Axel in order to sequentially lift up sections of the antenna. Our proposed concept involves delivering a packaged antenna and receiver to the bottom-center of a crater floor on a lander, then later sending a team of multiple DuAxel rovers to retrieve guide wires from the lander, which are pulled to the top of the crater. We explore this concept in detail and provide some initial quantitative analysis to demonstrate the feasibility of our system with respect to the spatial and mass properties of the antenna as juxtaposed to DuAxel capabilities. Finally, we outline next steps towards validating our concept on the way to a future lunar deployment opportunity.
dc.description.sponsorship NASA/JPL en_US
dc.language.iso en_US
dc.publisher Pasadena, CA: Jet Propulsion Laboratory, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2020
dc.title A Concept for the Deployment of a Large Lunar Crater Radio Telescope Using Teams of Tethered Robots
dc.type Preprint

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