Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

The Radio Observatory on the Lunar Surface for Solar Radio Studies

Robert MacDowall
Delivered As: 
Abstract Text: 

We summarize the components of a lunar surface-based radio astronomy observatory for solar observations in the frequency range 0.1 to 10 MHz. This frequency range corresponds to a significant fraction of the heliosphere inside Earth’s orbit, where solar radio bursts propagate after the electrons responsible for the emission are accelerated by flares or shocks. This observatory will provide the first imaging of radio bursts in this frequency range, with significant input to solar, heliospheric, and plasma physics. For example, the radio bursts are precursors to space weather events at Earth, and having radio images will permit more detailed analysis of the relationships to the sources of terrestrial space weather. Substantial progress was made on this concept through a Lunar Sortie Science grant and the NASA Lunar Science Institute. We continue to work on elements of the Radio Observatory on the Lunar Surface for Solar science (ROLSS; see Lazio et al., ASR 48, 1942-1957, 2011). Given the long wavelength (30 m – 3 km) range, this observatory is needs to be array of widely separated antennas for interferometric imaging. Specific elements include antennas deposited on polyimide film to be unrolled on the lunar surface, the options for deploying these antenna rolls, the radio astronomy receivers and other electronics, data storage and transmission to Earth, siting of the observatory, and data correlation and analysis.

SSERVI Identifier: 

Recognizing that science and human exploration are mutually enabling, NASA created the Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) to address basic and applied scientific questions fundamental to understanding the Moon, Near Earth Asteroids, the Martian moons Phobos and Deimos, and the near space environments of these target bodies. As a virtual institute, SSERVI funds investigators at a broad range of domestic institutions, bringing them together along with international partners via virtual technology to enable new scientific efforts."