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LRO development
ljk4-1
post Jan 3 2006, 04:17 PM
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http://www.al.com/news/huntsvilletimes/ind...8980.xml&coll=1

http://www.al.com/printer/printer.ssf?/bas...8980.xml&coll=1

Marshall hopes lunar lander makes return trips

Scientist says probe isn't seen as 'one-shot effort'

Monday, January 02, 2006

By SHELBY G. SPIRES

Times Aerospace Writer, shelbys@htimes.com

Before America sends astronauts back to the moon, NASA scientists want to
find minerals and water that could help sustain life on the lunar surface.

About 10 people at Marshall Space Flight Center and another 40 at NASA sites
around the country are developing what NASA engineers believe will be a
complex, unmanned lunar lander that will serve as a test run for a manned
lunar lander.

The probe isn't considered a "one-shot effort like the unmanned lunar
efforts in the past," said John Horack, the program manager.

When Apollo astronauts were headed to the moon in the 1960s, NASA launched
several probes to orbit and land on the moon. This time, NASA wants to put
as much as possible into basically two probes: the Lunar Reconnaissance
Orbiter and Marshall's lunar lander.

The rest at the above links.


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"After having some business dealings with men, I am occasionally chagrined,
and feel as if I had done some wrong, and it is hard to forget the ugly circumstance.
I see that such intercourse long continued would make one thoroughly prosaic, hard,
and coarse. But the longest intercourse with Nature, though in her rudest moods, does
not thus harden and make coarse. A hard, sensible man whom we liken to a rock is
indeed much harder than a rock. From hard, coarse, insensible men with whom I have
no sympathy, I go to commune with the rocks, whose hearts are comparatively soft."

- Henry David Thoreau, November 15, 1853

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Guest_AlexBlackwell_*
post Jan 9 2006, 06:03 PM
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An interesting tidbit from the "In Orbit" section of the January 9, 2006, issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology:

QUOTE
In Orbit

NASA Shifts Lunar Orbiter To EELV; May Drop Probe Into Crater
Aviation Week & Space Technology
01/09/2006, page 15
Edited by Frank Morring, Jr.

NASA may try to drop a sensor into a permanently dark crater at one of the Moon's poles as early as 2008 to probe for water ice in the super-cold shade there. The idea is one option for using extra payload capacity gained from a decision to launch the planned Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) on an Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) instead of a smaller Delta II. Also under study is the launch of one or more small communications/navigation satellites to support future lunar exploration missions. Scott Horowitz, associate administrator for exploration systems, dropped the Delta II to avoid stability problems with its spinning second stage, growing out of the heavy fuel load needed to get to the Moon. He will decide as early as this month between the larger Atlas V or Delta IV EELVs for the LRO launch. Either way, the LRO mission will gain at least 1,000 kg. (2,204 lb.) in capacity for a piggyback mission. Under the lander idea, some sort of small, inexpensive spacecraft would be sent into one of the polar craters where data from previous orbiters have suggested there may be water ice. Another proposal under study would send at least one microsat into lunar orbit to provide communications links and navigation services for subsequent surface explorers. Exploration managers also are surveying the NASA science directorate for potential add-on payloads.


This post has been edited by AlexBlackwell: Jan 9 2006, 06:05 PM
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Guest_AlexBlackwell_*
post Jan 23 2006, 06:42 PM
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NASA Developing Robotic Scouts For Lunar Exploration
By Frank Morring, Jr.
Aviation Week & Space Technology
01/22/2006 09:18:54 PM
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Phil Stooke
post Jan 23 2006, 07:08 PM
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Alex, your posts are very useful... Thanks.

Phil


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Guest_AlexBlackwell_*
post Jan 23 2006, 11:17 PM
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QUOTE (Phil Stooke @ Jan 23 2006, 07:08 PM)
Alex, your posts are very useful... Thanks.
My pleasure, Phil. There are two more RLEP-related articles in the January 23, 2006, issue of AW&ST; unfortunately, online access to these articles is available only to subscribers. The second of these two "not-for-free" articles, "Robotic Lunar Lander Will Try For Water Samples" by Frank Morring, has an interesting passage:

QUOTE
THE TECHNOLOGY would be extensible to other landers, says Mike Booen, vice president for Raytheon's advanced missile defense product line, and would be available much faster and at lower cost than a new development. Raytheon is also studying whether it could be used on a piggyback LRO ground-sensor payload, one possibility under a new request for information put out by Ames Research Center, home of the RLEP program office (see p. 44).

If the secondary LRO payload is a lunar communications satellite, it could help solve the problem of communicating with sensors in deep craters, at least when the satellite is over the crater. Also being considered are trailing cables that would link the sensor with the lander on the crater rim. That, in turn, might help solve the problem of powering sensors in the dark crater bottoms. Other possibilities include batteries, fuel cells or a nuclear power source that converts heat from radioactive decay into electricity.


This post has been edited by AlexBlackwell: Jan 24 2006, 01:18 AM
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Guest_BruceMoomaw_*
post Jan 24 2006, 01:16 AM
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"Trailing cables"? They're kidding, right? It reminds me of that old joke about the $50,000 electric car: $10,000 for the car and $40,000 for the cord.
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Phil Stooke
post Jan 24 2006, 04:24 PM
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The first time they try it, will they have to use training cables?

Phil


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RNeuhaus
post Feb 8 2006, 07:18 PM
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A new article from space.com

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter: Searching For A 'New Moon'

LRO is the first of the Robotic Lunar Exploration Program missions. After a planned launch by late fall 2008, LRO will take four days to make its way to the Moon and then orbit that chunk of "magnificent desolation" for nominally one year.

Now being competitively sought is a co-manifested "secondary" payload on the LRO launch. One idea floating about is ejecting some type of hardware from LRO to demonstrate a "first look" at the polar regions from the Moon's surface.


It will circle around the poles. This mean it is capable to map all Moon surfaces.

"LRO, in all respects, is a unique and challenging planetary mission," Jim Watzin, Planetary Division Chief for the Flight Programs and Projects Directorate at Goddard Space Flight Center explained to SPACE.com. For example, LRO will fly within 31 miles (50 kilometers) of the lunar surface for at least one year in order to conduct a comprehensive and detailed mapping mission. That's a feat that has never before been attempted, he noted.

So low and the Moon's magnetic surface is very unstable due to the asymmetry of the lunar gravitational field. Why there is uninform gravitational field of Moon? Due to Marias lavas? Will it use Ion propulsion to maintain the Moon's orbit?


Take note. For you "Apollo landings were a hoax" believers LROC's sightseeing abilities should set the record straight.

Hope to see again the buried and dirty Apollos' pictures...Not only to American but Soviet landing sities on the Moon.

LRO will give extra special attention to the relatively unexplored polar regions on the Moon.


Unresolved is the issue of polar volatiles as a resource—especially water-ice. The hunt for water-ice on the cold Moon is a hot-button topic. Among a bevy of sensors, LRO is outfitted with equipment to chip away at the ice-on-the-Moon matter.

That is good enough since the previous pictures from South pole is not able to show in detail on the bottom of craters near to South Pole such as Shackleton and its neigboors which are iluminated for the 80% of the lunar day. The other interesting and worth to take pictures is the Peary Crater from the North Pole.


If present, water-ice would be a nifty resource. It could be processed into oxygen, water, and rocket fuel for use by future lunar explorers. Still, whether that icy material is truly tucked away at the Moon's poles is arguable.

Perhaps, these Moon ices would be a good Whisky brinds for astronauts to relax the stressfull (I think so) 3-4 days Moon's trip.

"There's clearly something going on at the lunar poles that we don't fully understand," said David Paige, a space researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles. He's the lead scientist on LRO's Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment. It will chart the temperature of the entire lunar surface at roughly 985 feet (300 meter) horizontal scales to identify cold-traps and potential ice deposits.

I have heard that the lowest Moon temperature is recorded in the South Pole Aitken Basis where is located the crater Shackleton with perhaps -230 degree of centigrade. That is so cold as Pluto since that low temperature is due to the continuous shadows in the south polar craters cause the floors of these formations to maintain a temperature. The night moon in middle latitudes usually lowers to around minus 145-150 degree of centigrade.



Much more to read at http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/06...technology.html

Rodolfo
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Phil Stooke
post Feb 8 2006, 10:01 PM
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The irregularities in the gravitational field are (simply put) caused by the excess mass of those mare lavas. They filled holes in a surface that had isostatically adjusted after the basin impacts, but then became too rigid to adjust again after the lava filled the depressions.

LRO will use regular chemical thrusters to maintain its low orbit.

It will map the whole moon at low resolution, but only select areas at high resolution.

And it will try to image landing and impact sites. But it will not necessarily get all of them because we don't know where they all are with sufficient accuracy to hit them with the high resolution images. For instance Lunokhod 1 is uncertain by at least 5 km, Luna 9 by probably 40 km. Apollo landing sites will be no problem. of course.

Phil


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Guest_AlexBlackwell_*
post Feb 9 2006, 12:31 AM
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QUOTE (Phil Stooke @ Feb 8 2006, 10:01 PM)
And [LRO] will try to image landing and impact sites.  But it will not necessarily get all of them because we don't know where they all are with sufficient accuracy to hit them with the high resolution images.  For instance Lunokhod 1 is uncertain by at least 5 km, Luna 9 by probably 40 km.  Apollo landing sites will be no problem. of course.

Yes, the Russian landing sites will be hard if not impossible to find.

I believe Clementine UVVIS had the spatial resolution to spectrally resolve the individual sampling stations at the Apollo 15, 16, and 17 landing sites. On the other hand, the precise locations of the Luna and Lunokhod sites are virtually unknown, even to the Russians. In fact, Blewitt et al. [1997] reported an excellent linear correlation between the spectral Fe and Ti parameters and the average FeO and TiO2 contents of lunar soils that were sampled at each station/site for the final three lunar missions. And they felt that their correlation was strong enough to permit extrapolation to the Moon as a whole. Interestingly, they reported that the reported Russian Luna 24 site does not fit this model, which led them to believe that the site is either nonrepresentative or that the Russian reported coordinates are in error.

Reference:

Blewitt, D.T., et al., "Clementine images of the lunar sample-return stations: Refinement of FeO and TiO2 mapping techniques", J. Geophys. Res. 102, 16319-16325 (1997).
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Phil Stooke
post Feb 9 2006, 02:46 AM
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Alex, you can't really say that Clementine 'resolved' the Apollo sampling sites - which in effect are only as big as the scoop or the rock which was picked up. What you can say is that we know which Clementine UVVIS pixel the sampling site is in. So the multispectral characteristics of that pixel can be described and searched for elsewhere.

My LPSC abstract (print-only, as I can't be there - look at the moon section under 'print-only) discusses this topic.

Here's an example. This is the Luna 24 landing area. If L24 was 10 km off its predicted location it could lie on the higher albedo unit at lower left or on Fahrenheit ejecta, or on a mare ridge (though that's not likely to differ chemically from its surroundings). THe grid is 0.25 degrees. The image is from the Apollo 15 panoramic camera.

Attached Image


Phil


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Bob Shaw
post Feb 9 2006, 09:25 AM
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Phil:

At least with the later Apollo flights and the Soviet rovers there's the prospect of seeing an albedo difference resulting from the passage of the vehicle, which may lead to some accurate LRO camera pointing (obviously not really a problem with regard to Apollo sites, which are well known, but potentially a method of finding the Lunokhods). After all, look at MGS and the MER tracks - I doubt if a mere forty years of space weathering will have wiped out the tracks on the Moon!

Bob Shaw


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Phil Stooke
post Feb 9 2006, 01:23 PM
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It might *just* be possible, Bob, but the tracks will not really have much if any albedo difference - Apollo disturbed soil was only darker near the LM, where the descent engine exhaust brightened the surface and any disturbance exposed darker material again (probably a texture difference rather than true albedo). LRV tracks far from the LM were not darker.

Much more useful for the Lunokhods will be the pattern of larger craters along the route. We don't know exactly where Lk1 is, but Soviet maps of the route show the pattern of craters nearby. That will be visible in LRO images if they happen to fall in the right area. Lk2 should be easier to find as we know its location relative to nearby craters fairly well. It will still be barely resolved, though.

Phil


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ljk4-1
post Feb 9 2006, 01:49 PM
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QUOTE (Phil Stooke @ Feb 9 2006, 08:23 AM)
It might *just* be possible, Bob, but the tracks will not really have much if any albedo difference - Apollo disturbed soil was only darker near the LM, where the descent engine exhaust brightened the surface and any disturbance exposed darker material again (probably a texture difference rather than true albedo).  LRV tracks far from the LM were not darker. 

Much more useful for the Lunokhods will be the pattern of larger craters along the route.  We don't know exactly where Lk1 is, but Soviet maps of the route show the pattern of craters nearby.  That will be visible in LRO images if they happen to fall in the right area.  Lk2 should be easier to find as we know its location relative to nearby craters fairly well.  It will still be barely resolved, though.

Phil
*


Don't they still use the laser reflector on Lunakhod 1, or at least they did.
I recall they could not do this with Lunakhod 2 as they were not able to
position it properly at the premature end of its mission.

Couldn't they just check the records and have literal pinpoint accuracy as to
L1's location?

http://www.astrosurf.com/lunascan/luna_17.htm


--------------------
"After having some business dealings with men, I am occasionally chagrined,
and feel as if I had done some wrong, and it is hard to forget the ugly circumstance.
I see that such intercourse long continued would make one thoroughly prosaic, hard,
and coarse. But the longest intercourse with Nature, though in her rudest moods, does
not thus harden and make coarse. A hard, sensible man whom we liken to a rock is
indeed much harder than a rock. From hard, coarse, insensible men with whom I have
no sympathy, I go to commune with the rocks, whose hearts are comparatively soft."

- Henry David Thoreau, November 15, 1853

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Phil Stooke
post Feb 9 2006, 02:09 PM
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No. That information, which is repeated on many websites, is exactly the opposite of the truth. Lk2's reflector can still be used. Lk1 has not been used since early in the mission. There is a new attempt being made this year to reacquire Lk1 with improved equipment, and a new prediction of its location (made my me). I have presented evidence that Lk1 is about 5 km west of the position usually quoted, and that point will be searched later this year. But we don't know if Lk1 is actually in a suitable orientation to give a reflection.

http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2005/pdf/1194.pdf

(the abstract mentions a 2004 attempt which was in fact not made).

Phil


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