Orbiting Radio Telescope


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Zan Sullivan-Wilson
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Message 1093182 - Posted: 4 Apr 2011, 2:11:52 UTC

I recently read the book Contact by Carl Sagan (awesome read). In the book they mentioned that SETI research would be made much easier if we had an orbiting radio telescope in space. It has now been ~25 years since it was published. Have we sent a radio telescope into space during that time? If not, is there discussion of doing so in the future?

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Message 1093228 - Posted: 4 Apr 2011, 4:34:41 UTC - in response to Message 1093182.
Last modified: 4 Apr 2011, 4:35:21 UTC

I recently read the book Contact by Carl Sagan (awesome read). In the book they mentioned that SETI research would be made much easier if we had an orbiting radio telescope in space. It has now been ~25 years since it was published. Have we sent a radio telescope into space during that time? If not, is there discussion of doing so in the future?

No, because the atmosphere radio window is open. There is a project called the Square Kilometer Array with thousands of antennas to be built in Australia or South Africa. It will be managed by Jodrell Bank Radio Telescope institution in the UK.
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Message 1093412 - Posted: 4 Apr 2011, 19:32:46 UTC

I think there are lots of people who would love to have the funding to put a radio telescope in orbit or on the dark side of the moon. But its unlikely anyone will fund the project. We are Lucky to have telescopes like Hubble, Splitzer and Fermi. Radio telescopes need to be massive, they need a massive collecting area. As Tullio said, its easier to build them on the ground because radio waves are not blocked by the earths atmosphere.

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Message 1093498 - Posted: 5 Apr 2011, 2:16:49 UTC - in response to Message 1093412.

As Tullio said, its easier to build them on the ground because radio waves are not blocked by the earths atmosphere.

The atmosphere does transmit most radio frequencies, but it causes some distortion and scattering much as it does with visible light, and there are parts of the microwave band where atmospheric absorption is quite strong.

There are interesting possibilities for interferometry by multiple radio-telescopes in orbit: a baseline thousands of kilometres long could provide unprecedented resolution. (Not so interesting for SETI, perhaps.)
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Message 1093570 - Posted: 5 Apr 2011, 9:27:52 UTC - in response to Message 1093498.
Last modified: 5 Apr 2011, 9:28:43 UTC

There are interesting possibilities for interferometry by multiple radio-telescopes in orbit: a baseline thousands of kilometres long could provide unprecedented resolution. (Not so interesting for SETI, perhaps.)


Something similar has been built already....the ISS. It has taken us lots of years, quite alot of money and a couple of shuttle flight crew members being killed.
Building a baseline thousand of Km long is a good idea but not realistic so far. I guess another 50 years will pass until we see a structure in space with a such size and performance capability.
Much less expensive and quite effective are rovers programms like Spirit. Bigger and more powerful devices are in progress now -being built-
Nevertheless, I am for a manned mission to Mars for the next 25/30 years, as in a best case scenario.
Last input: bringing 1 Kg of mass into orbit (and maintain it) is still too expensive.
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Message 1093574 - Posted: 5 Apr 2011, 9:52:21 UTC

The joint ESA-NASA LISA project was to launch three laser interferometers like LIGO and VIRGO in space to detect gravitational waves. But NASA is backing out of it and ESA is evaluating a smaller project, because of cost.
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Message 1094250 - Posted: 7 Apr 2011, 9:08:55 UTC

I just found this article which talks about sending cargo into orbit and its price---->welt.de

Ein Start der Heavy Falcon soll zwischen 80 und 125 Millionen US-Dollar kosten.
Das bedeutet etwas weniger als 2000 US-Dollar (rund 1400 Euro) pro Kilogramm Ladung.


A Heavy Falcon rocket launch might cost something betweeen 80 and 125 million US dollar, which gives an average of less than 2K dollar/Kg (some 1.400 Euro)

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Message 1094278 - Posted: 7 Apr 2011, 13:00:48 UTC - in response to Message 1094250.

sounds cheap lets send a few million tons of cargo to start that space radio telescope... that should only cost $trillions
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Message 1095047 - Posted: 9 Apr 2011, 2:49:29 UTC - in response to Message 1093570.

Self replicating spaceships based on nanotechnology machinery, in theory a Galactica size spaceship could be built. Any thoughs on that

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Message 1095081 - Posted: 9 Apr 2011, 3:11:47 UTC - in response to Message 1095047.
Last modified: 9 Apr 2011, 3:16:35 UTC

Self replicating spaceships based on nanotechnology machinery, in theory a Galactica size spaceship could be built. Any thoughs on that ?


crazy non-sense.
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Message 1095248 - Posted: 9 Apr 2011, 12:42:35 UTC - in response to Message 1095081.

pretty much that. Each of your nanobots would have to have instructions to build the entire ship that seems to be a data heavy idea. Unless you could figure out how to compress data into a very small area a nanobot would be anything but nano.
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Message 1095264 - Posted: 9 Apr 2011, 13:45:03 UTC - in response to Message 1095081.

Self replicating spaceships based on nanotechnology machinery, in theory a Galactica size spaceship could be built. Any thoughs on that ?


crazy non-sense.


Red Dwarf anyone?


More seriously, a message in a bottle or whatever self-perpetuating machinery could be 'everlasting' to eventually explore the entire universe.

Wait a moment... Isn't life such a piece of machinery?...

Keep searchin',
Martin

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Message 1095928 - Posted: 11 Apr 2011, 2:36:43 UTC - in response to Message 1095081.

Interesting, so when Newton came up with the Newtonian law, or Eistein came up theory or relativity, are those crazy non sense, i think not. Sad when the human mind does not think outside the box.

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Message 1096051 - Posted: 11 Apr 2011, 13:13:25 UTC - in response to Message 1095928.

Interesting, so when Newton came up with the Newtonian law, or Eistein came up theory or relativity, are those crazy non sense, i think not. Sad when the human mind does not think outside the box.


That all depends on what you consider to be your "box"...

There's many impractical dreamers...

And then there are those that make new things work and do things.

Keep searchin',
Martin


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Message 1096056 - Posted: 11 Apr 2011, 13:22:52 UTC
Last modified: 11 Apr 2011, 13:23:49 UTC

To reply to the thread title...


Radio waves are largely unaffected by our atmosphere. There are effects from the ionosphere but that is not significant for radio astronomy.

Hence, we can conveniently and cheaply do our radio astronomy from the comfort of Earth-based observatories. The only problems are from local interference and from the ever-present lack of funding.


The only advantages I can envision for a space-based radio observatory is for whether we can take advantage of:


  • Remoteness from terrestrial interference;
  • Remoteness from solar interference;
  • The vastness of space to deploy a low cost lightly constructed but vastly large collecting area.



All the other aspects of using a space-based observatory conspire to cause great cost and/or severe operating restrictions.


Keep searchin',
Martin
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Message 1096066 - Posted: 11 Apr 2011, 13:39:04 UTC

Yes, but.

We will have to base our LIGO efforts in space. Too much vibration here on Earth. Plus we could achieve an enormously long base-line for the interferometer. I am confident that once we do this that we will find gravity "waves" which would be a rolling warpage of space-time.

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Message 1098107 - Posted: 16 Apr 2011, 17:28:33 UTC - in response to Message 1096066.

Lets put orbiting radio telescopes around most planets in the Solar system, thus creatian a gargantuan readio telescope.

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Message 1098129 - Posted: 16 Apr 2011, 18:48:32 UTC

In terms of the "nanobots" idea, I think a more realistic concept may be based around a more plausible & achievable self-constructing solution.

Wow that's a lot of big words - where did they come from?...

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Message 1098581 - Posted: 18 Apr 2011, 2:40:13 UTC - in response to Message 1098129.

Borg approach

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Message 1098885 - Posted: 19 Apr 2011, 6:23:36 UTC

OK guys!!!!

You asked for a giant radio telescope in space? Well it seems the russians are launching one in May this year!!!!

Its called "RadioAstron".

Watch Russian TV video about it;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48O4kgjjKkc

RadioAstron website;
http://www.asc.rssi.ru/radioastron/

Wikipedia; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RadioAstron

Picture;



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