The test is the first high-fidelity simulation of a human-robot "waypoint" mission — an Earth-moon L2 lunar far side telescope deployment concept proposed by experts at the University of Colorado, Boulder and Lockheed Martin, builder of the NASA Orion spacecraft.
"It was a great success … and the team was thrilled with how smoothly everything went," said Jack Burns, director of the NASA Lunar Science Institute's Lunar University Network for Astrophysics Research, a NASA-funded center at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
The K10 rover deployed two 'arms' of Kapton film under the command of astronaut Cassidy, Burns said.
Burns is a leading advocate of a proposed piloted mission to the Earth-moon L2 position, from which astronauts within an Orion spacecraft would remotely unfurl a low-radio-frequency antenna on the moon's farside.
In the future, we plan such a deployment on the far side of the moon, where the Kapton film will be the backbone for a low-frequency radio telescope,” Burns told SPACE.com.
Once deployed on the lunar landscape, Burns said, an array of unfurled polyimide film could track down the "cosmic dawn" of the universe that occurred shortly after the Big Bang. The moon's farside is a radio-quiet locale in the inner solar system, allowing for sensitive observations of the first stars and galaxies that formed only 100 million years after the Big Bang, he said.
Original article appeared on SPACE.com.
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