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Design of a Particle Beam Satellite System for Lunar Prospecting

By P. Nordin and D. H. Berwald


One potential use for neutral particle beam (NPB) technology is as an active orbital probe to investigate the composition of selected locations on the lunar surface. Because the beam is narrow and can be precisely directed, the NPB probe offers possibilities for high resolution experiments that cannot be accomplished using passive techniques. Rather, the combination of both passive and active techniques can be used to provide both full-coverage mapping (passively) at low resolution (tens of kilometers) and high-resolution information for discrete locations of special interest. A preliminary study of NPB applicability for this dual-use application was recently conducted. The study was completed in Feb. 1993. A novel feature was the consideration of the use of a Russian launch vehicle (e.g., the Proton). The use of other Russian space hardware and capabilities was also encouraged. This paper describes the lunar prospector system design. Other researchers discuss the issues and opportunities involving lunar scientific experimentation using an NPB. The NPB lunar prospector utilizes a modified design of the Far Field Optics Experiment (FOX). Like the Earth-orbiting FOX, the core capability of the NPB lunar prospector will be a pulsed RF LINAC that produces a 5-MeV proton beam that is projected to the target with a 30-micro-r beam divergence and a 10-micro-r beam-pointing accuracy. Upon striking the lunar surface, the proton beam will excite characteristic radiation (e.g., X-rays) that can be sensed by one or more detectors on the NPB platform or on a separate detector satellite

Year: 1993
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