Lunar Radio Explorer

A low-frequency radio telescope is the top target for future science experiments conducted from the moon. The purpose of the Lunar Radio Astronomy Explorer (LRX) is to explore the frequency spectrum which can not be observed from the Earth. It also examines the suitability of a lunar radio interferometer in situ. The mission is expected to achieve the following goals:

• To characterize the properties of the lunar environment with respect to radio experiments. This includes the dielectric properties of the moon surface, the study of iono-magnetic plasmasphere around the moon

• To measure the lunar exospheric plasma frequency by observing the Galactic background radiation

• To detect the terrestrial magnetotail impact on the lunar surface

• To measure and localize the impacts of cosmic rays and micro-meteorites

• To investigate the temporal lunar surface radio background to look for static discharges and cosmic ray induced noise also includes planetary radio noise

• To measure the propagation of radio wave along the surface, measure absorption and shielding of radiation by mountains, craters and the moon itself

• Passive ground-penetrating radar measurements, using natural radio sources, to investigate sub-surface properties of the moon

The measurements are within the frequency range of 10 KHz up to 100 MHz and rather will be done with just one active antenna with high sensitivity. To satisfy the directionality requirements, a tripole antenna (see figure below) is a natural candidate. With three dimensional arms, a tripole antenna is sensitive in all directions. Therefore by digitizing and processing the three independent dipoles it can be used for beam-forming and is able to localize radio sources with 5 degree resolution when the SNR is high enough.

The Figure anticipates the position of tripole antenna onboard the lander. The other major instruments are Solar cells, telemetry and command antenna for navigation. It is also an option to use Moon Rovers with extra antenna for taking data from the moon surface. Then a two-element interferometery with very flexible processing modes would be possible. Such a Lunar explorer is illustrated in the figure.

A variety of Moon Rovers has been designed for Lunar exploration. The figure is adapted from a designed Lunar lander to show the possible position of antenna. An animation of lander and rover for lunar mission can be seen here.

projects/lrx.txt · Last modified: 2017/07/27 15:56 (external edit)
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