Optimizing Science Payloads for Stand-Alone Operation on the Lunar Surface in the Next Decades

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					NLSI Lunar Science Conference (2008)


OPTIMIZING SCIENCE PAYLOADS FOR STAND-ALONE OPERATION ON THE LUNAR SURFACE IN THE NEXT DECADES. P.E. Clark1, R. Lewis2, P. S. Millar2, P.S. Yeh2, J. Lorenz3, S. Feng2, W. Powell2, R. Beaman2, K. Brown2, and L. Leshin2 1Catholic University of America (Physics Department), 2NASA/GSFC, 3 Northrop Grumman; all at NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, MD 20771, Introduction: In order to support the development of lunar surface architecture that will meet the published goals and objectives of the scientific community [1], we have been part of several interdisciplinary teams of scientists and engineers that have been formulating the implementation of these goals and evaluating surface operational strategies in terms of their implications for surface science activities [2]. Implementation of these goals will require delivering science packages to optimal sites remote from potential (human) sources of contamination. Chief instruments/instrument package candidates include those which could provide a) early measurements of the atmosphere, radiation, field, charged particle, and dust interactions on local and global scales, and b) global scale geophysical network. Such packages must be capable of surviving ultra cold (during extended dark periods) and extreme variations in thermal conditions, as well as operating autonomously with stand-alone power systems whether delivered robotically or by a human crew. From the time of the Apollo era, radioisotope (Pu238) based power systems have met the need to supply both power and heat in the coldest and darkest environments like those experienced periodically on the lunar surface, but the availability of radioisotope based power systems over the next decade and a half is now highly uncertain. In fact, our preliminary study demonstrated that when conventional approaches are used in designing instrument packages, performance suffers and mass and cost parameters grow significantly as a result of increased thermal protection and battery power requirements necessary to withstand lunar environmental conditions within needed operational constraints. The efforts described in detail here demonstrate that alternative state-of-the-art design and components for generic state-of-the-art science packages can at least meet the power and mass constraints of earlier packages without requiring the use of Pu238. Instrument package considered in initial study: Three packages underwent preliminary system and subsystem design using a conventional instrument package design approach at the GSFC IDL (Instrument Development Laboratory) facility. We will describe the highest scientific priority one here, an environmental monitoring station (LEMS) (Figure 1). LEMS is a stand-alone automated package powered by solar panels with batteries with a large suite of instrument and instrument types which would provide

Figure 1: Schematic of deployed Lunar Environmental Monitoring Station (LEMS).

comprehensive and critical measurements and understanding of the interactions between radiation, plasma, solar wind, magnetic and electrical fields, exosphere, dust and regolith. Some version of LEMS would be a primary candidate for early deployment before contamination of the lunar exosphere. Instruments include spectrometers to measure neutral gas species of the exosphere, X- and Gamma-radiation, energetic neutrons and protons from the solar and galactic radiation environment; particle analyzers to measure the spatial and energetic distribution of electrons and ions; a dust experiment to measure diurnal variations in the size, spatial, and velocity of lunar and micrometeorite dust; and electric and magnetic field instruments to indicate changes resulting from variations in solar activity, and terrestrial magnetic field interactions. Using a Conventional Design Approach: The LEMS faces several challenges typical of those autonomous science packages deployed on the lunar surface will face. LEMS would be required to be operational for a minimum of five years, to survive the extreme cold (<100K) and thermal cycling during dark periods (5 to 14 days at the poles due to umbral shadowing in otherwise ‘permanently’ illuminated locations or elsewhere due to diurnal variations. These lunar surface conditions are quite different from conventional deep space conditions where one side of the spacecraft is almost always illuminated and heat dissipation is the thermal issue. On the lunar surface, battery mass was driven by the need for power for survival heaters during periods of prolonged darkness and became the overwhelming driver of the total mass to 500 kg with only 19% allocated for the instrument payload and 53% for the power system. The power allocation was 180W (85W for the instruments) during the day, 60W for thermal heaters alone at night with the instruments turned off, even though measurements made during periods of darkness are essential.

NLSI Lunar Science Conference (2008)


Table 1: Reduction in Mass and Power for LEMS using nonconventional design approaches Design Regime Conventional Cold Electronics -20oC Surv Battery Mass Remaining Mass Total Mass 500 Min Power 60 380 30 244 15 140 10 260 260 184 100 240 Electronics -40oC Op -20oC Surv 120 New Pack- ALSEP Concept approx instru-40oC Op 5 60 40

Performance -10oC Op

-20oC Surv ments

High Performance Electronics: Just by introducing more robust electronics capable of operating over a wider temperature range, and particularly at colder temperatures, we reduced the required battery power by a factor of 2, as indicated in Table 1. Improvements from Alternative Thermal Design: The use of thermal design and innovative thermal balance strategies are crucial to design a package with mass, power, and volFigure 2: JWST heritage for ume significantly reMulti-Layer Thin insulation. duced. This reduction will be essential to meet requirements for robotic mission payloads, and to allow opportunities to deploy more science packages during human crewed missions. We have introduced into our thermal models the use of 2 to 3 thin insulating fiberglas layers (multi thin layer or MLT), a material used on JWST, as external packaging, along with heat pipes in each package, packaging instruments together when possible.. These strategies combined with operating instruments on 10 to 20% duty cycles, reduce thermal loss and mitigate the need for active survival heaters, and thus reduce the thermal and power system masses. The preliminary results shown in Table 1 indicate that we can reduce the total package mass of the package by at least of factor of 2. We estimate that if we reduced the number of instruments to 5, like the ALSEP, rather than the 10 we now include, we would be operating in the ALSEP regime without the use of Pu238. Incorporation of Ultra-low power, ultra-cold operating (ULP/ULT) components: Another strategy that could allow reduced power and temperature operation would be the incorporation of Ultra-low power and low temperature (ULP, ULT) electronics [3], developed at GSFC and through partnerships with the University of Idaho and the Department of Defense

(DoD) National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). ULT/ULP chips are being used successfully and have demonstrated orders of magnitude savings in power consumption and thermal tolerance [3]. These systems include the use of CULPRiT (CMOS Ultra-low Power Radiation Tolerant) technology successfully flown on NASA’s ST5 90 day mission in March 2006. We are beginning to incorporate ULT/ULP components extensively in shared or unshared digital electronics of individual instruments, plus communication, control and data handling, power and thermal subsystems. ULP/ULT electronics cannot be applied to analog electronics associated directly with sensor heads. We are in the process of testing this approach by applying it to a Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) geophysical science instruments package concept under development for LSSO. Distributed Power System: We are beginning to consider an alternative strategy for the power system. We will determine how much we can mitigate heat loss by packaging miFigure 3: Micro-Battery cro-batteries with individfor distributed power. ual instruments. Applying the new design strategy: Our strategy incorporates components and design concepts which greatly minimize power, and mass, while maximizing the performance under extreme cold and dark conditions even more demanding than those routinely experienced by spacecraft in deep space. In this way, instrument system and subsystem design, packaging, and integration will significantly enhance the opportunities for the science community to develop selectable, competitive science payloads. Our ultimate goals include development of a plan for advancing recommended technologies in application to lunar surface instruments, payloads, and associated systems to minimize mass, volume, and power requirements as a precursor to design guideline generation. This approach will leverage NASA’s existing and projected unique capabilities within the creation and implementation of these technologies that are critically in demand to serve NASA’s Vision for Exploration. References: [1] Committee on the Scientific Exploration of the Moon (2007) National Academy of Science, Final Report,; [2] Clark, P.E. et al (2007) LEAG Workshop, [3] Maki and Yeh (2003) ESTO Conference, A3P4(Yeh).pdf.

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Description: "To Explore the Full Spectrum of Lunar Science Of the Moon, On the Moon, and From the Moon." The Abstracts and Papers from the NLSI Lunar Science Conference (2008), July 20-23, 2008. Here are the scientists solving the practical problems, answers to which are vital, necessary to the return to the moon, which is already underway.
Joel Raupe Joel Raupe Principal Investigator
About Principal Investigator (PI): Lunar Pioneer, applied lunar science "virtual" think tank organized in 1994.