by Paul van Susante
A thesis submitted to the Faculty and the Board of Trustees of the Colorado School of Mines in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science (Engineering Systems)
Golden, Colorado Date ___________ Signed: ________________________ Paul van Susante Approved: ________________________ Dr.R.H. King Thesis Advisor
Golden, Colorado Date ____________ ________________________ Dr. D. Munoz Department Head Division of Engineering
The Moon is an excellent platform for operations for astronomical purposes while at the same time it is possible to combine such scientific activities with exploration and resource utilization. The purpose of this NASA-sponsored study wasto find out how a large infrared telescope can be built inside a permanently shadowed crater on the Moon using humans and robots, to define the required infrastructure. The results will give NASA a lunar reference to compare to a telescope mission to free-space. The alt-azimuth telescope design will consist of a 25 m diameter segmented primary mirror. The secondary mirror will be 50 meter abovethe primary and will be supported by three truss structures. It will use super-conducting magnetic bearings and a counterweight / instrument housing. The required infrastructure for constructing this telescope includes spaceand surface transportation. A (temporary) lunar base will need to be established and a smaller construction outpost will be required. The surface transportation will consists ofrobots and a ski-lift-type cable system. Communication links will be needed at Malapert Mountain and at the rim of Shackleton crater to guarantee continuous communications. Power for the telescope and the lunar base will be
generated at the so-called Peak of Eternal Light and transported using the lift cables. To construct this telescope five different types of robots will be neededand two humans will be supervising the robots during certain phases while the robots will be remotely controlled from the lunar base or from Earth. During this report it is shown that for such large telescopes, it is possible to think of ways to deal with the perceived negative aspects of the Moon such as dust, gravity, temperatures, etc. The choice between free space (Sun-Earth L2) and the lunarsurface for a large infrared telescope is not immediately clear. Both locations have advantages and disadvantages. The major advantage of S-E L2 is the possibility to observe the whole universe, while the major advantage of the lunar South Pole is the possibility to operate for many years longer and at the same time allowing easier maintenance and expansion than possible in S-E L2. For a choice itis not only important to look at the possible astronomy, but also to the construction, operations and other factors such as maintenance options, efficiency, expansion possibilities and the support of a larger infrastructure. Many improvements will be required in many technological areas dealing mostly with the capabilities of robots, the extension of operational environment into the extremely coldregions of 40 K, remotely operated performing delicate construction tasks, the creation of infrastructure, the super-conducting magnetic
bearings in a much larger type and their required three orders of magnitudes increase in precision, but none seem unacceptably far in the future. Next to technology improvements, there is also the need to know more about the lunar local environment suchas the dust behavior, the topography with a vertical and horizontal spatial resolution better than one meter, absolute temperature measurements and the temperature fluctuations. Some of these measurements will be done by lunar missions that will reach the Moon in the coming years such as SMART-1, LUNAR-A and SELENE. As far as humans are concerned it will require augmentations in the space-suits...