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Proceedings Paper

SALSA: a synthesis array for lunar submillimeter astronomy
Author(s): Michael J. Mahoney; Kenneth Alan Marsh
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Paper Abstract

A conceptual design is described for a lunar submillimeter wavelength interferometer called SALSA, a Synthesis Array for Lunar Submillimeter Astronomy. Its design is greatly simplified over conventional submillimeter wavelength arrays because it takes advantage of a beam waveguide to relay signals to a centrally-located receiver system. The array is optimized to synthesize images at wavelengths between 60 and 300 microns, and it has an angular resolution of 10 milliarcsecs at 60 microns. Observations in this region provide unique insights into fundamental issues in astrophysics such as star formation, but are impossible from the earth's surface because of atmospheric absorption. The baseline design for SALSA consists of twelve, 3.5-meter diameter antennas arranged in a Y-shaped configuration consisting of three 0.5-km long arms, each with four antennas distributed according to a power-law function of distance. Such a beam-waveguide approach has significant advantages, since all the high-power-consumption items (active cryogenics, correlator) are at a central location and could share a single power source. In addition, the antennas can be quite simple and maintenance is greatly reduced. The primary technology challenges for developing such an array are the coherent detectors (mixers and local oscillator sources), and ensuring the dimensional stability of the optical elements under the extreme lunar thermal environment (85-385 K).

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 September 1991
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 1494, Space Astronomical Telescopes and Instruments, (1 September 1991); doi: 10.1117/12.46724
Show Author Affiliations
Michael J. Mahoney, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Kenneth Alan Marsh, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1494:
Space Astronomical Telescopes and Instruments
Pierre Y. Bely; James B. Breckinridge, Editor(s)

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