International Lunar Observatory

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International Lunar Observatory (ILO)
NamesILO-X
Mission typeTechnology, astronomy
OperatorInternational Lunar Observatory Association (ILOA)
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft typeMX-1E lander
ManufacturerLander: Moon Express
Telescope: Canadensys Aerospace
Payload masstelescope: ≈2 kg
Start of mission
Launch date2019
RocketElectron
Launch siteRocket Lab LC-1
ContractorRocket Lab
Moon lander
Main
NameILO-1
TypeSchmidt–Cassegrain telescope
Diameter7 cm
Focal length18 cm
Wavelengthsvisible spectrum
Resolution6.4-megapixel [1]
Transponders
Capacity115,000 bps[2]
TWTA power5 W [2]
 

The International Lunar Observatory (ILO-1) is a private, scientific and commercial lunar mission to place a small observatory on the South Pole of the Moon to conduct astrophysical studies using an optical telescope.[3] The mission, planned for a 2019 launch, is to provide a conceptual design of a lunar observatory that would be reliable, low cost, and fast to implement. Also, it is hoped to be a technology precursor to a 2-meter dish radio observatory (ILOweb) on the Moon, and other commercial initiatives.[1][4][5]

The ILO-1 mission, announced on July 2017,[6] is being organized by the International Lunar Observatory Association (ILOA) and the Space Age Publishing Company. The prime contractors are Moon Express, providing the MX-1E lander,[7] and Canadensys Aerospace, that is providing the optical telescope system.[8][9] The estimated cost in 2004 was of US$50 million.[10]

Overview[edit]

The ILO-1 mission, originally planned to be launched in 2008,[11] is now scheduled to be launched in 2019 with an Electron rocket from New Zealand.[12] The mission is called Moon Express Lunar Scout, and it will use the MX-1E lander to deliver the observatory on top of the Malapert Mountain, a 5 km tall peak in the Aitken Basin region that has an uninterrupted direct line of sight to Earth, which facilitates communications any time.[7][13]

The small robotic observatory is designed to withstand the long lunar nights so it is expected to operate for a few years.[13] Moon Express will also utilize the mission to explore the Moon's South Pole for mineral resources including water ice.[7][4] The optical portion of the system is a Schmidt–Cassegrain telescope.[14] The optical system uses a 7 cm diameter lens, with an 18 cm focal plane, a 13 cm f/5.6 aperture,[4][15] and 6.4-megapixel resolution.[1] The telescope system is "about the size of a shoe-box" with a mass of approximately 2 kg.[1][4]

Some partners include the National Astronomical Observatory of China (NAOC), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the newly formed Southeast Asia Principal Operating Partnership, and others.[2][16]

Objective[edit]

The mission's objective is to conduct astrophysical observations from the surface of the Moon, whose lack of atmosphere eliminates much of the need for costly adaptive optics technology.[17] Also, since the Moon's days (about fourteen Earth days) have a dark sky, it allows for nonstop astronomical observations.[17] Disadvantages include micrometeorite impacts, cosmic and solar radiation, lunar dust, and temperature shifts as large as 350° Celsius.[17] The mission aims to acquire images of galaxies, stars, planets, the Moon and Earth. The project will promote commercial access to the telescope use to schools, scientists and the public at large through the Internet.[1]

Other two unrelated secondary payloads on the lander are a Celestis memorial,[18] and a lunar laser ranging experiment called MoonLIGHT.[19]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e ILOA details its ILO-X lunar telescope, wants it on the Moon in 2015. Jon Fingas, Engadget. 28 May 2013.
  2. ^ a b c ILO presentation - 2007.
  3. ^ Accessible Lunar Exploration: Science & Communications from the Moon. Canadyensis Aerospace. 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d Moon Express-built Telescope To Provide Lunar Perspective of Earth. Debra Werner, Space News 3 June 2013.
  5. ^ Lunar Observatories. Robert S. French, Swinburne Astronomy Online.
  6. ^ World's first mission to the Moon's south pole announced. PhysOrg, 19 July 2013.
  7. ^ a b c International Lunar Observatory to be Established at Moon’s South Pole in 2019. Moon Express- Press Release. 21 July 2017.
  8. ^ International Lunar Observatory Association, 4 Mission Update January 2018: ILOA & Galaxy Forum - 10 years on. ILOS, 20 January 2018.
  9. ^ First lunar observatory for Moon's south pole in 2019. Kerry Hebden, The Space Journal. 24 July 2017.
  10. ^ Realizing the International Lunar Observatory. ILO. 2004.
  11. ^ International Lunar Observatory: ILO Mission Update (4th Quarter 2005). ILO Home Site.
  12. ^ Pietrobon, Steven. "New Zealand Launch Record (2009 to present)". Steven Pietrobon's Space Archive. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  13. ^ a b Internatioinal Lunar Observatory to offer a new astrophysical perspective. Spaceflight Insider. Tonasz Nowakowski. 12 August 2017.
  14. ^ figure 2: Optical Astronomy Payload Configuration. ILO.
  15. ^ Canadensys: An Innovative New Canadian Space Company. The Commercial Space Blog . 5 October 2014.
  16. ^ 'Maunakea World Park' Advanced by Hawaii Mayor Kim at ILOA Galaxy Forum Kona. PR Newswire. 13 April 2017.
  17. ^ a b c ILO — Astrophysics From the Moon's Advantages. Space Age Pub. 2017.
  18. ^ "The Luna 02 Flight". Celestis. 10 October 2017. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  19. ^ UMD, Italy & MoonEx Join to Put New Laser-Reflecting Arrays on Moon. Lee Tune, University of Maryland. 10 June 2015.

External links[edit]