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Proceedings Paper

Future development of the PLATO Observatory for Antarctic science
Author(s): Michael C. B. Ashley; Colin S. Bonner; Jon R. Everett; Jon S. Lawrence; Daniel Luong-Van; Scott McDaid; Campbell McLaren; John W. V. Storey
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Paper Abstract

PLATO is a self-contained robotic observatory built into two 10-foot shipping containers. It has been successfully deployed at Dome A on the Antarctic plateau since January 2008, and has accumulated over 730 days of uptime at the time of writing. PLATO provides 0.5{1kW of continuous electrical power for a year from diesel engines running on Jet-A1, supplemented during the summertime with solar panels. One of the 10-foot shipping containers houses the power system and fuel, the other provides a warm environment for instruments. Two Iridium satellite modems allow 45 MB/day of data to be transferred across the internet. Future enhancements to PLATO, currently in development, include a more modular design, using lithium iron-phosphate batteries, higher power output, and a light-weight low-power version for eld deployment from a Twin Otter aircraft. Technologies used in PLATO include a CAN (Controller Area Network) bus, high-reliability PC/104 com- puters, ultracapacitors for starting the engines, and fault-tolerant redundant design.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 July 2010
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 7735, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy III, 773540 (20 July 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.857853
Show Author Affiliations
Michael C. B. Ashley, The Univ. of New South Wales (Australia)
Colin S. Bonner, The Univ. of New South Wales (Australia)
Jon R. Everett, The Univ. of New South Wales (Australia)
Jon S. Lawrence, Macquarie Univ. (Australia)
Australian Astronomical Observatory (Australia)
Daniel Luong-Van, The Univ. of New South Wales (Australia)
Scott McDaid, The Univ. of New South Wales (Australia)
Campbell McLaren, The Univ. of New South Wales (Australia)
John W. V. Storey, The Univ. of New South Wales (Australia)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7735:
Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy III
Ian S. McLean; Suzanne K. Ramsay; Hideki Takami, Editor(s)

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