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Conceptual Design of the Lunar Crater Radio Telescope (LCRT) on the Far Side of the Moon

Bandyopadhyay, Saptarshi and McGarey, Patrick and Goel, Ashish and Rafizadeh, Ramin and Delapierre, Mélanie and Arya, Manan and Lazio, Joseph and Goldsmith, Paul and Chahat, Nacer and Stoica, Adrian and Quadrelli, Marco and Nesnas, Issa and Jenks, Kenneth and Hallinan, Gregg (2021) Conceptual Design of the Lunar Crater Radio Telescope (LCRT) on the Far Side of the Moon. In: 2021 IEEE Aerospace Conference. IEEE , Piscataway, NJ, pp. 1-25. ISBN 9781728174365.

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An ultra-long-wavelength radio telescope on the far side of the Moon has significant advantages compared to Earth-based and Earth-orbiting telescopes, including: 1. Enabling observations of the Universe at wavelengths longer than 10 meters (i.e., frequencies below 30 MHz), wavelengths at which critical cosmological or extrasolar planetary signatures are predicted to appear, yet cannot be observed from the ground due to absorption from the Earth's ionosphere; and 2. The Moon acts as a physical shield that isolates a far-side lunar-surface telescope from radio interference from sources on the Earth's surface, the ionosphere, Earth-orbiting satellites, and the Sun's radio emission during the lunar night. In this paper, we present the conceptual design of the Lunar Crater Radio Telescope (LCRT) on the far side of the Moon. We propose to deploy a wire mesh using wall-climbing DuAxel robots in a 3–5 km diameter crater, with a suitable depth-to-diameter ratio, to form a parabolic reflector with a 1 km diameter. LCRT will be the largest filled-aperture radio telescope in the Solar System; larger than the former Arecibo telescope (305 m diameter, 3 cm - 1 m wavelength band, 0.3-10 GHz frequency band) and the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST) (500 m diameter, 0.1-4.3 m wavelength band, 60–3000 MHz frequency band). LCRT's science objective is to track the evolution of the neutral intergalactic medium before and during the formation of the first stars in the 10–100 m wavelength band (3–30 MHz frequency band), which is consistent with priorities identified in the Astrophysics decadal survey. We describe LCRT's science objectives and the key technology challenges that need to be overcome to make this concept a reality. We envisage that LCRT will open a new window for humanity's exploration of the Universe.

Item Type:Book Section
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Lazio, Joseph0000-0002-3873-5497
Goldsmith, Paul0000-0002-6622-8396
Chahat, Nacer0000-0003-2069-7004
Hallinan, Gregg0000-0002-7083-4049
Additional Information:© 2021 IEEE. Pre-Decisional Information – For Planning and Discussion Purposes Only. This research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Group:Astronomy Department
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210623-153259695
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Official Citation:S. Bandyopadhyay et al., "Conceptual Design of the Lunar Crater Radio Telescope (LCRT) on the Far Side of the Moon," 2021 IEEE Aerospace Conference (50100), 2021, pp. 1-25, doi: 10.1109/AERO50100.2021.9438165
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:109549
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:23 Jun 2021 18:27
Last Modified:23 Jun 2021 18:27

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