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The Surveyor Lunar Roving Vehicle, Plans for a rover to accompany Surveyor
Guest_BruceMoomaw_*
post Mar 21 2006, 11:34 PM
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QUOTE (gndonald @ Mar 21 2006, 03:06 PM) *
Found a little additional information on the lunar orbiting Radio Astronomy Explorer (Explorer 49). It's at the NSSDC Spacecraft Database and includes basic information on the spacecraft, the instruments fitted and most importantly an email address for further information.


The very last US lunar mission until Clementine -- unless you count Galileo's long-range observations of the Moon during its two Earth flybys, which actually did provide important new information on it, including confirmation of the existence of the Aitken Basin. (Explorer 49 did carry a wide-angle facsimile camera that photographed the Moon, but only to confirm its proper attitude orientation.)
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gndonald
post Mar 22 2006, 01:28 PM
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QUOTE (BruceMoomaw @ Mar 22 2006, 07:34 AM) *
The very last US lunar mission until Clementine -- unless you count Galileo's long-range observations of the Moon during its two Earth flybys, which actually did provide important new information on it, including confirmation of the existence of the Aitken Basin. (Explorer 49 did carry a wide-angle facsimile camera that photographed the Moon, but only to confirm its proper attitude orientation.)


Interesting as the camera is not mentioned on the website I linked to. Were the pictures released in any form?
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Phil Stooke
post Mar 22 2006, 04:34 PM
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Bruce, I would sell my grandmother for one of those images.

Oh, sorry, Granny! Who'd have thought you were lurking here...

Phil


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... because the Solar System ain't gonna map itself.
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Guest_BruceMoomaw_*
post Mar 22 2006, 08:28 PM
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There was one of 'em printed in "Science News" at the time, I believe (of the farside, if I remember correctly) -- although I remember the resolution as being lousy. Tell Granny I expect her to be a VERY good housekeeper -- she'll need to be one.
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edstrick
post Mar 23 2006, 08:54 AM
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I never saw any images from the Explorer.. or that ?Muses-A? Japanese lunar swingby and orbiter mission, though I recall hearing it took some.
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Phil Stooke
post Mar 23 2006, 01:38 PM
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Ted Stryk has two Hiten (MUSES-A) images (one of them a mosaic) on his website. They are low quality (4 bit, low resolution, just used for navigation purposes).

http://pages.preferred.com/%7Etedstryk/Hiten.html

I'm now going to look for the Explorer 49 image Bruce mentioned. Of course, I expect the quality will be very poor.

Phil


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Phil Stooke
post Mar 26 2006, 12:29 AM
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Bruce - an unexpected wrinkle has appeared in the Grandmother deal we were brokering. Not that Gran has an increasingly tectonic complexion, but that I looked through Science News for 1973, and I found nothing in the nature of an Explorer 49 image. There were two articles... one very brief... The first did have a schematic illustration of the satellite in lunar orbit, with a lunar photo behind the satellite, but clearly an Apollo photo. The article was from around the time of launch anyway. The second article described orbit insertion. Then nothing for 6 months.

Maybe I need took ahead into 74. Or is it possible the photo was in AW&ST or some such place instead? I'll look into that next.

Phil


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... because the Solar System ain't gonna map itself.
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Guest_BruceMoomaw_*
post Mar 26 2006, 03:52 AM
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Dang. Well, I know I saw a small version of it SOMEWHERE, with the marker at the end of one of the RAE's very long gravity-gradient booms pointing toward a very wide-angle (and lousy resolution) view of the Moon, published very soon after the craft entered lunar orbit. I'll do a bit more research, so tell Granny not to get her hopes up.
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edstrick
post Mar 26 2006, 09:14 AM
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The quality issue explains the public invisibility of Hiten images, but that "bail-out-you-fool!" (quick.. identify the quote) sequence is *NEAT*.
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Guest_BruceMoomaw_*
post Mar 26 2006, 01:33 PM
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Well, I haven't located any actual images from the Explorer 49 cameras on the Web -- but I have confirmed that both Radio Astronomy Explorers carried a pair of facsimile cameras to observe the behavior of the long deployed booms, and I've at least found the ID number for a published NASA report on the performance of Explorer 49's cameras (which had image compression of fully 32 to 1). This paper may be your best bet for finding actual images from it:

___________________________________

12. On-board image compression for the RAE lunar mission
Miller, W. H.; Lynch, T. J.
NASA Center for AeroSpace Information (CASI)
IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems, AES-12, May 1976 , 19760501; May 1, 1976
The requirements, design, implementation, and flight performance of an on-board image compression system for the lunar orbiting Radio Astronomy Explorer-2 (RAE-2) spacecraft are described. The image to be compressed is a panoramic camera view of the long radio astronomy antenna booms used for gravity-gradient stabilization of the spacecraft. A compression ratio of 32 to 1 is obtained by a combination of scan line skipping and adaptive run-length coding. The compressed imagery data are convolutionally encoded for error protection. This image compression system occupies about 1000 cu cm and consumes 0.4 W.
Accession ID: 76A34178
Document ID: 19760051212
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Phil Stooke
post Mar 26 2006, 02:14 PM
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edstrick said: "The quality issue explains the public invisibility of Hiten images, but that "bail-out-you-fool!" (quick.. identify the quote) sequence is *NEAT*."

(speaking of Hiten images). One of the Mercury astronauts on viewing the Ranger 9 video transmission.


Bruce, thanks for this. I will now try to track it down. If I find anything interesting I will see if I can get it up here. Granny would be proud.

Phil


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dvandorn
post Mar 26 2006, 02:29 PM
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You're correct, Phil, though I note you're unable to specify which of the seven said it.

It was Wally Schirra, by the way.

-the other Doug


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“The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right.” -Mark Twain
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Phil Stooke
post Mar 26 2006, 04:46 PM
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Fiends! - oh sorry, that's a typo - I am holding in my hands an image from Explorer 49... from Bruce's reference. As soon as our Science Library opened I was there - pretty pathetic, isn't it? Anyway, the article had one image plus a diagram of the wide-angle field of view. I'll post something tomorrow.

The scanner produced images with 2160 by 512 pixels covering 360 by 70 degrees. Over 100 images were taken, displayed in real time at Goddard and recorded on tape.

Phil


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... because the Solar System ain't gonna map itself.
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Guest_BruceMoomaw_*
post Mar 27 2006, 01:59 AM
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The hell with Granny being PROUD -- Granny had better be DUTIFUL. I'm counting on you to fulfill your part of the deal. (Incidentally, I hope she's not allergic to cats.)

Am I correct in remembering that the resolution of that photo (wherever I did see it) was pretty pathetic?
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nprev
post Mar 27 2006, 02:08 AM
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OT a bit, here, but does anyone have an authoritative link to the complete history of the Explorer program? I was aware of Explorer 35, but had no idea that the series went all the way to 49...I mean, talk about an unheralded epic in the annals of spaceflight! unsure.gif

Was the "Explorer" designation perhaps the US answer to "Cosmos" in some way, at some times...?


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A few will take this knowledge and use this power of a dream realized as a force for change, an impetus for further discovery to make less ancient dreams real.
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