Date/Time: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 9:00AM PST, 17:00 UTC
Presenter: Robert MacDowall, PhD. NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
The lunar surface is often identified as a prime location for acquiring radio observations at frequencies below the terrestrial ionospheric cutoff or for lunar far-side observatories that would be shielded from terrestrial radio interference. Here, we consider a candidate observatory for solar radio burst imaging below 10 MHz. The Radio Observatory on the Lunar Surface for Solar studies (ROLSS) ) consists of 3 arms of thin polyimide film, each 500 m in length, radiating from a central hub, providing ~2 deg angular resolution at 30-m wavelength (10 MHz). Each arm includes 16 dipole antennas, consisting of metal deposited on the film and transmission lines connecting them to receivers at the central hub. These arms could be unrolled using a crewed or robotic rover. The data collected by the antennas are processed at the central hub and down-linked to Earth for final radio image synthesis. This antenna system is uniquely suited to the low mass and low volume requirements for delivery to the lunar surface. In this presentation, we review the scientific goals of ROLSS and their relationships to heliophysics, the hardware components that ROLSS requires, the current status and work to be completed, and the role of a pathfinder mission to provide mission risk reduction at a modest cost.
The ROLSS concept study was funded by the NASA Lunar Sortie Science Opportunities (LSSO) program. The LUNAR consortium (Jack Burns, P.I.) is funded by the NASA Lunar Science Institute to investigate concepts for astrophysical observatories on the Moon.