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

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

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  1. Astronaut-Aided Construction of a Large Lunar TelescopeProgress Report 7/31/02 Colorado School of Mines

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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)

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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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