Presentation #309.02 in the session “Instrumentation”.
The Lunar Crater Radio Telescope (LCRT) will be the largest radio telescope ever assembled and will be able to peer into areas of the cosmic dawn that have never been seen by humankind. The task of this telescope is to study the Hydrogen 21 cm emission line from the early universe, like Dark Ages and Cosmic Dawn. The optimal location for placement of the LCRT to work in this electromagnetic spectrum is the far side of the moon. For the LCRT to be the best performing large radio telescope it must have an active surface. An active surface is technology that adjusts the surface of the aperture to correct for imperfections caused by many things; on the Moon temperature will cause the most imperfection. The best way to offset the extreme temperature variations on the Moon is an active surface system. This research study on active surface will demonstrate how the integration of existing active surface technologies to the LCRT project will improve performance. Active surface technology corrects for dish weight, imperfections, temperature variations, lunar dust depositions, and other uncertainties. Large temperature swings as much as 300º C happen on the Moon. Active surface can make corrections by stretching the cables as temperatures expand and contract the metal-built cables. There are numerous active surface technologies currently in use on Earth-based telescopes that could be modified using the latest technologies and applied to the LCRT, greatly reducing the time and expense of new development. Drawing from proven components on the finest large radio telescopes on Earth, a lunar based telescope with active surface on the far side of the Moon will be able to look further into space and collect data that will expand humanity’s reach and enhance civilization’s survival. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Part of this research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. © 2021 All rights reserved.