Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
  Mars Exploration News  




Subscribe free to our newsletters via your




















Sensor System To Gauge Effects Of Cosmic Rays On Lunar Explorers

Illustration of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Boston MA (SPX) Jan 24, 2005
Boston University Professor Harlan Spence recently learned that his proposal for CRaTER, an instrument that will measure and characterize the potential biological effects of cosmic radiation on humans, was one of six selected by NASA for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission scheduled for fall 2008.

A professor in Boston University's Center for Space Physics and a professor in and chairman of the university's Department of Astronomy, Spence is expected to receive a contract for approximately $9.5 million for CRaTER.

He and the other principal investigators will each head institution-based research teams that will build instruments to gather data on the lunar environment, a vital first step in NASA's preparation for what President Bush has announced will be a series of human and robotic missions to the moon.

CRaTER, which stands for Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation, will measure the high-energy charged particles (ions and electrons, not "rays" at all) that travel throughout the cosmos at nearly light speed.

Consisting of a novel cosmic ray sensor system coupled with proven analog and digital electronics, CRaTER will relay its data back to Earth through the LRO spacecraft's communication system.

The sensor system will be the scientific heart of the instrument. Designed as a stack of detectors housed in a structure of aluminum and special material known as tissue-equivalent plastic, the sensor system will allow CRaTER scientists to measure and characterize the potential biological effects of radiation that occur in deep space.

The aim: gather the data needed to develop equipment and materials that will ensure human safety in the lunar environment.

"In 1971, I stood with my family in the throngs that watched Apollo 15 thunder into space from Cape Canaveral," Spence recalls. "It was a defining moment for me, hooking me on a career in astronomy and space science. With CRaTER, I get to relive that excitement as a space scientist -- and get to experience my own voyage, of sorts, to the moon!"

Scientists on Spence's team include Larry Kepko, senior research associate in BU's Center for Space Physics; J. Bernard Blake, director of the Space Sciences Department at the California-based research group, The Aerospace Corporation; Joseph Mazur, research scientist and laboratory manager at Aerospace; Justin Kasper, a research scientist in MIT's Center for Space Research; and Lawrence Townsend, a professor of nuclear engineering at The University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

Team collaborators include Michael Golightly of the Air Force Research Laboratory in Bedford, Massachusetts and Terrence Onsager of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Environment Center in Boulder, Colorado.

The LRO mission is part of NASA's Robotic Lunar Exploration Program. In 2008, the orbiter will carry the instruments built by the teams into space where they will begin gathering the information that will inform the planning and execution of future lunar missions.

The five other NASA-selected teams are from Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland; Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois; Institute for Space Research and Federal Space Agency in Moscow; University of California in Los Angeles; and Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

Community
Email This Article
Comment On This Article

Related Links
Boston University
SpaceDaily
Search SpaceDaily
Subscribe To SpaceDaily Express
Mars News and Information at MarsDaily.com
Lunar Dreams and more



Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News


SMART 1 Uses New Imaging Technique In Lunar Orbit
Paris, France (ESA) Dec 28, 2005
ESA's SMART-1 spacecraft has been surveying the Moon's surface in visible and near-infrared light using a new technique, never before tried in lunar orbit.









  • NASA plans to send new robot to Jupiter
  • Los Alamos Hopes To Lead New Era Of Nuclear Space Tranportion With Jovian Mission
  • Boeing Selects Leader for Nuclear Space Systems Program
  • Boeing-Led Team to Study Nuclear-Powered Space Systems

  • Sensor System To Gauge Effects Of Cosmic Rays On Lunar Explorers
  • Lunar Colony To Run On Moon Dust
  • SMART-1 Approaching Final Lunar Orbit
  • SwRI Instrument Selected For NASA Lunar Orbiter Mission

  • Space Tourism: The Next Steps
  • GlobeTel Signs Letter of Intent with NASA
  • Space Race 2: Bezos And Life Beyond Amazon
  • Titan Success Raises Curtain On Big Year In Space

  • SwRI Researchers Show Planetoid Sedna May Have Formed Far Beyond Pluto
  • What Melted Quaoar, The Ice Planet?
  • Nuclear-Powered Mission To Neptune Could Answer Questions About Planetary Formation
  • Enigmatic Kuiper Object Quaoar Might Be Outgassing

  • Space Scientist Proposes New Model For Jupiter's Core
  • The Moon Eclipses Jupiter
  • Jupiter's Gets All Spotty In Rare Triple Moon Transit
  • SiRF Joins iNavSat Consortium In Euro Galileo Concession Bid



  • Moonlander: Let It Rain
  • Titanic Rainmaker
  • Titan: A Living World?
  • Swirls In The South

  • "Bumpy" Glass Could Lead To Self-Cleaning Windows, Slick Micromachines
  • BAE Systems RAD750 Microprocessor To Help NASA Study Comet
  • Plastics Made From Orange Peel And A Greenhouse Gas
  • Thinking Small: Texas A&M Team Creates Lab-On-A-Chip

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2006 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA PortalReports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additionalcopyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement