Astronaut aided construction of a large lunar telescope progress report 7 31 02
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Astronaut-Aided Construction of a Large Lunar Telescope Progress Report 7/31/02 Colorado School of Mines Participants Dr. Robert King CSM Mining, Engineering/robotics Dr. Jeff van Cleve Ball Aerospace Astronomer/space instruments Mark Kerr* UNM Architect

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Astronaut aided construction of a large lunar telescope progress report 7 31 02 l.jpg

Astronaut-Aided Construction of a Large Lunar TelescopeProgress Report 7/31/02

Colorado School of Mines


Participants l.jpg
Participants

  • Dr. Robert King CSM Mining, Engineering/robotics

  • Dr. Jeff van Cleve Ball Aerospace Astronomer/space instruments

  • Mark Kerr* UNM Architect

  • Mike Duke(PI) CSM Lunar Geology and Development

  • Paul van Susante* CSM Civil Engineer/Engineering systems

  • Yuki Takahashi* CSM/UC Berkeley Astrophysics/Physics

  • Michelle Judy * LaRC Aerospace Engineering

    * Students


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Astronaut-Aided Construction of a Large Lunar Telescope

  • Objectives:

  • Evaluate the possibility of construction

  • and operation of a large (25 m) telescope

  • on the Moon

  • Determine the roles of humans and

  • robots in construction and operations

  • Provide first order arguments that compare

  • a lunar telescope to similar telescopes in

  • space

Task schedule (2002):

Assemble team – May

Literature review and definition of

facility - June

Scenario development; task assignments – July

Detailed design of facility – August

Evaluation of human/robotic tasks – Sept.

Analysis of scenario – October

Preparation of final report - November

Resources

Colorado School of Mines $32,565

RASC (support of King, Duke, $34,000

Takahashi)

LaRC (support of Judy) TBD

Ball Aerospace (support of

Van Cleve) (est.) 2,400

Mark Kerr is self-supporting


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Requirement for Very Large Telescopes

  • Next Generation Space Telescope will be capable at wavelengths as long as 5-10mm; mirror of 8m diameter

  • 25 m mirror capable of observations at wavelengths to 25 mm with approximately 10 times the light gathering power

  • Addition of a second large mirror or several smaller ones adds interferometric capability

  • Such facilities will provide the capability to:

    • Directly image planets around nearby stars

    • Significantly extend the age of galaxies that can be observed


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Rationale for Lunar IR Telescope

  • Environmental conditions of lunar surface are superior; environmental concerns, mostly dust, can be minimized by careful design

  • Low temperature operating conditions at lunar poles are advantageous for IR telescopes

  • Telescope facility can be augmented or improved as technology changes, with little additional infrastructure

  • Transportation costs to the Moon will be comparable to those to Earth-Sun Lagrangian points when propellants are available from lunar sources (Polar ice deposits)


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Lunar Environment

  • Lunar environment is seismically stable

  • High vacuum; no wind vibrations

  • Permanently-shadowed craters at South Pole are very cold (<80K); nearby access to sunlit areas; no sun-avoidance required

  • Slow rotation rate provides for long exposures

  • Low gravity (1/6-g); Moon provides inertial base for rotating machinery

  • Topography useful for shielding telescopes from disruptive activities

  • Micrometeoroid impact flux ~ ½ that of free space

  • Dust is the principal environmental issue, but can be avoided by engineering design


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Lunar Observatory Concept

  • A complex of telescopes will be erected in Shackelton Crater at the Moon’s South Pole

  • The crown jewel(s) will be 25 m diameter Alt-Azimuth telescopes

  • These will be supported by 3 m telescopes that can be incorporated into an interferometric array

  • The observatory can be emplaced and expanded over a period of decades, using a common infrastructure of space transportation, surface transportation, habitats and supporting facilities


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Design of 25 m telescope

  • Alt-azimuth design

  • Utilize superconducting bearings for rotational motions (altitude, azimuth)

  • Construct most parts of graphite-epoxy or more advanced lightweight but strong materials

  • Designed to utilize robots for construction of foundation, carrying, joining, erecting truss structures, installing mirror segments, etc.

  • Mirror elements to be demountable for resurfacing of mirror

  • Construction system designed so that pieces of telescope never touch lunar surface and are protected from dust

  • Instruments located in easily-serviced areas

  • Light-lines established for interferometric arrays


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Infrastructure Requirements

  • Space transportation system

    • Use “Lunar Gateway” architecture with transfer point at Earth-Moon L-1

    • Produce propellants from lunar polar hydrogen; processing facility located in area where contamination of telescope will not occur

    • Landing/ascent facility located at a distance and shielded by topography from telescope

  • Human support (habitat) outside permanent shadow

    • Crew of 6 on 3-6 month tours of duty

  • “Construction shack” in shadow, near telescopes

    • Crew of 2 for two week tours

  • Logistics facility for staging articles during construction

  • Surface transportation system – minimize dust

  • Power system

  • Communications facility


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Robotic Systems Requirements

  • Surface transportation of equipment from logistics area to telescopes

  • Emplacement of foundation supports

  • Erection of telescope elements, trusses, using robots attached to structure

  • Emplacement of mirror elements utilizing robotic arms

  • Sensors and actuators on mirror elements for fine adjustments

  • Designed so that any piece of telescope can be dismantled for replacement or repair

  • Robots have high level autonomy, but can be controlled by on-site humans when necessary


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Requirements for on-site humans

  • Human are required for different tasks at different stages of construction and operation

    • Site preparation – humans plan layout, identify location of foundation piers, teleoperate robots that excavate and emplace piers, verify proper emplacement of piers

    • Construction phase – humans supervise robots that construct the facility; employ observation robots to inspect and test at key times in construction sequence

    • Commissioning phase – humans observe performance as telescopes are initially activated; determine quality of operation; generate “fixes” to problems; may manufacture hardware in lunar machine shop

    • Operational phase – humans supervise calibration of instruments, instrument changeout


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Project Activity Plan

  • May, 2002 – Assemble team

  • June, 2002 – Background literature search, understand rationale for lunar observatory, determine characteristics of observatory

  • July 2002 – Begin initial design studies for 25 m telescope; review state-of-art in erecting large space structures

  • August - September 2002 – Define detailed roles for humans, robots; define infrastructure elements

  • October – Develop detailed construction sequence

  • November – Parametric cost analysis; prepare final report


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Tentative Outline of Final Report

  • Introduction

  • Comparison of alternatives for very large telescopes (Earth, Space, Moon)

  • Lunar Environment considerations

  • Lunar observatory concept

  • Elements of telescope construction and operation

  • Evaluation of roles of humans and robots

  • Possible synergies of lunar telescopes with other activities

  • Infrastructure elements; Technology requirements

  • Preliminary cost model

  • Conclusions and Recommendations

    References


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