The radio environment of the Moon at low frequencies, particularly in lunar polar regions and the permanently shadowed regions (PSR) found there, is relatively poorly explored and may contain some novel features. In addition, these areas of the Moon, shielded from the natural and artificial emissions of the Earth, and the natural radio emissions of the Sun and the other planets, are near-ideal locations for radio astronomy observations in the last unexplored region of the electromagnetic frequency spectrum. We are developing a low-mass RadioLuna radio science precursor mission to deploy an interferometric array on the lunar surface using Space Initiatives "Mote" penetrometers. The current RadioLuna default mission would be an array of 10 - 12 penetrators deployed on the floor of Shackleton crater in the PSR 4 km below the crater rim, where it would be shielded from all terrestial, solar and planetary interference. At the present level of understanding of the low frequency lunar radio environment there will be a tight coupling between advances in technology and advances in science, and RadioLuna can be expected to lead to improvements in both lunar radio science and lunar communication techniques.
- Pub Date:
- March 2021
- Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics;
- Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics
- Accepted by the XXXIV General Assembly and Scientific Symposium (GASS) of the International Union of Radio Science (Union Radio Scientifique Internationale-URSI)