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NASA Lunar Science Institute

LUNAR Students Outfit K10 Rover

17 Aug 2012, 00:57 UTC
LUNAR Students Outfit K10 Rover

Engineering students are configuring NASA’s K-10 rover to deploy a polyimide antenna.

Robotic roll-out of an antenna — part of a low-frequency array of radio antennas. CREDIT: Joe Lazio/JPL
Laura Kruger, a student from NLSI’s LUNAR team, and several engineering students from Idaho have been working on getting NASA’s K-10 rover to deploy a polyimide antenna. This technology could support radioheliophysics experiments like the Radio Observatory on the Lunar Surface for Solar studies (ROLSS) project.
The ROLSS concept consists of 3 arms of thin polyimide film, each 500 m in length, radiating from a central hub. The ROLSS array consists of multiple science antennas located near the lunar equator on the near side. Each arm includes 16 dipole antennas with metal deposited on the film, along with transmission lines connecting to receivers at the central hub. The polyimide film is flexible enough to be stored in a roll during transit and deployed directly on the lunar surface by unrolling. These arms could be deployed using a crewed or robotic rover, providing ~2º angular resolution at 30-m wavelength (10 MHz).

Students attach the polyimide film to the K10 Rover. Credit: Kruger/NASA
The data collected by the antennas would be 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.
Scientists could also use these antennas for solar radio burst imaging to remotely detect particle acceleration. Such a capability could help protect astronauts by providing advanced warnings of life threatening radiation events and would buy valuable time for astronauts to seek shelter.
The team has been working with Terry Fong, Director of the Intelligent Robotics Group at NASA Ames Research Center. This activity was funded by the NASA HQ Office of the Chief Technologist, and will continue with Colorado students into the Fall. The students may also give a deployment demonstration at the upcoming International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN) event on September 22, 2012. Furthermore, the team plans to use the configuration next summer in a deployment simulation using K-10 teleoperated by astronauts aboard the ISS.

The newly equipped K10 Rover. Credit: Kruger/NASA

NASA’s K-10 rover with a deployed polyimide antenna. Credit: Kruger/NASA
For more information about ROLSS, read the LUNAR team’s white paper on the subject.
About InOMN
The International Observe the Moon Night consists of scientists, educators, and Moon enthusiasts from government, non-profit organizations, and businesses throughout the United States and across the globe gathering under the inspirational power of the Moon — a celestial body that has influenced human lives since the dawn of time. International Observe the Moon Night has created the opportunity for people to take notice of the Moon’s beauty and share that experience with one another. Through International Observe the Moon Night, we hope to instill in the public a sense of wonderment and curiosity about our Moon. Our partnerships enable us to stay up to date with the latest and greatest scientific discoveries about Earth’s nearest neighbor, and we strive to bring those discoveries to the public.
For more information on InOMN, visit: http://observethemoonnight.org
Posted by: Soderman/NLSI Staff
Source: NLSI Team

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