Author Topic: Telescope at Mars  (Read 2207 times)

Offline Star One

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Telescope at Mars
« on: 02/09/2013 05:49 PM »
In this week's issue of the New Scientist it mentioned that one of the proposals put forward for the use of one of the two NRO telescopes gifted to NASA would be for it to put into orbit around Mars, either to survey Mars's surface or to look out at the universe from there.

How good an idea is this and how feasible would it be to launch such a no doubt large telescope out to Martian orbit?

Offline Archibald

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Re: Telescope at Mars
« Reply #1 on: 02/09/2013 06:02 PM »
To look at the universe from Mars - can't see the point.
But to survey Mars surface ? why not ? after all they are first and foremost spy satellites... machines build to takes high resolution pictures of a planet surface.
With the Mars atmosphere much thinner than Earth, resolution can only be better.
Reminds me of that Lunar Mapping and Survey System - a KH-7 *hijacked* by NASA to map Apollo landing sites.
That logarithm in the rocket equation is rather annoying...

Offline Star One

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Re: Telescope at Mars
« Reply #2 on: 02/09/2013 07:40 PM »
To look at the universe from Mars - can't see the point.
But to survey Mars surface ? why not ? after all they are first and foremost spy satellites... machines build to takes high resolution pictures of a planet surface.
With the Mars atmosphere much thinner than Earth, resolution can only be better.
Reminds me of that Lunar Mapping and Survey System - a KH-7 *hijacked* by NASA to map Apollo landing sites.


I have to agree that I cannot see what would be different about looking out at the universe from Mars compared to the Earth.

Online Lee Jay

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Re: Telescope at Mars
« Reply #3 on: 02/09/2013 08:06 PM »
Unless I've done my math wrong (someone please check me), the Rayleigh Criterion on this thing for 550nm light in a 235 mile orbit would be about 4 inches.

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: Telescope at Mars
« Reply #4 on: 02/10/2013 01:21 AM »
Just one small detail. How are you going to transmit the data dump from an ex-NRO telescopes surveying Mars? Anyone got a guess to much bandwidth is needed per image frame taken with the telescope? Same question about data transmit  bottleneck also applied for astronomy usage.

Online Lee Jay

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Re: Telescope at Mars
« Reply #5 on: 02/10/2013 02:05 AM »
Just one small detail. How are you going to transmit the data dump from an ex-NRO telescopes surveying Mars? Anyone got a guess to much bandwidth is needed per image frame taken with the telescope? Same question about data transmit  bottleneck also applied for astronomy usage.

Same way as with HiRISE.  Pick your spots.

Online Dalhousie

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Re: Telescope at Mars
« Reply #6 on: 02/11/2013 09:19 PM »
To look at the universe from Mars - can't see the point.

Longer baseline for measuring parallax has been suggested.  Possibly less influence from the zodiacal light.  Sun subtends a smaller part of the sky. If you go to radio astronomy, long baseline interferometry. 

Online douglas100

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Re: Telescope at Mars
« Reply #7 on: 02/11/2013 09:41 PM »
Longer baseline for measuring parallax has been suggested.  Possibly less influence from the zodiacal light.  Sun subtends a smaller part of the sky. If you go to radio astronomy, long baseline interferometry. 

You can do long baseline work just as well in solar orbit. No need to go near Mars. Instead of using extra delta V to insert the telescope into Mars orbit, you could use the extra impulse to increase the aphelion of the solar orbit and enlarge your baseline.

Personally I think a Hubble type mission based at Earth-Sun L2 is a better option.
Douglas Clark

Online Dalhousie

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Re: Telescope at Mars
« Reply #8 on: 02/11/2013 11:28 PM »
You can do long baseline work just as well in solar orbit. No need to go near Mars. Instead of using extra delta V to insert the telescope into Mars orbit, you could use the extra impulse to increase the aphelion of the solar orbit and enlarge your baseline.

Quote
Personally I think a Hubble type mission based at Earth-Sun L2 is a better option.

It's called JWST ;-)

Online IRobot

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Re: Telescope at Mars
« Reply #9 on: 02/12/2013 12:10 AM »
That idea is plain stupidity. You can have a very low orbit and achieve the same with a small telescope.

Take the money and spend it on small asteroid survey! There is a 50 meter rock shaving our atmosphere next Friday!

We don't need 2 more Hubble-class telescopes, right now we need two things:
- a large on-orbit telescope for exo-planet study (not discovery)
- a large number (tens of thousands) of small earth based telescopes (<1 meter diameter) scanning the sky for small asteroids, exo-planets, super novas and GRBs.

Actually all the sky can be scanned 100% of the time with some 100 telescopes spread across the globe, but turbulence and other weather conditions could prevent it.
« Last Edit: 02/12/2013 12:11 AM by IRobot »

Offline Russel

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Re: Telescope at Mars
« Reply #10 on: 02/12/2013 02:47 PM »
I suspect this might have something to do with enabling a telescope at Mars.

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/tdm/lcrd/lcrd_overview.html

Offline scienceguy

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Re: Telescope at Mars
« Reply #11 on: 02/13/2013 10:53 PM »
You would get slightly better parallax measurements for star distances from Mars.
e^(pi)i = -1

Online IRobot

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Re: Telescope at Mars
« Reply #12 on: 02/13/2013 11:07 PM »
You would get slightly better parallax measurements for star distances from Mars.
You could have the same without having to spend fuel to enter orbit on Mars...

Offline alexterrell

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Re: Telescope at Mars
« Reply #13 on: 02/14/2013 07:52 PM »
Longer baseline for measuring parallax has been suggested.  Possibly less influence from the zodiacal light.  Sun subtends a smaller part of the sky. If you go to radio astronomy, long baseline interferometry. 

You can do long baseline work just as well in solar orbit. No need to go near Mars. Instead of using extra delta V to insert the telescope into Mars orbit, you could use the extra impulse to increase the aphelion of the solar orbit and enlarge your baseline.

Personally I think a Hubble type mission based at Earth-Sun L2 is a better option.
Solar orbit baseline inferometry would be great, but you'd need to design the telescopes from scratch.

If I understand it you need to know the separation of the telescopes to within less than a wavelength - so might be feasible with infra-red telescopes.

I've often wondered (OT here) what you could do with two 1km diameter radio telescopes in a 10AU solar orbit.

Offline happyflower

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Re: Telescope at Mars
« Reply #14 on: 02/21/2013 05:20 PM »
In this week's issue of the New Scientist it mentioned that one of the proposals put forward for the use of one of the two NRO telescopes gifted to NASA would be for it to put into orbit around Mars, either to survey Mars's surface or to look out at the universe from there.

How good an idea is this and how feasible would it be to launch such a no doubt large telescope out to Martian orbit?

Will it be out of the realm of possibility to have one of these telescopes attached to some kind of propulsion (like a VASIMR or solar sails). It can then slow travel from one location to another and get some really detailed surface images of planets, moons, and asteroids?

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