First two-way laser ranging to a lunar orbiter: infrared observations from the Grasse station to LRO’s retro-reflector array View Full Text


Ontology type: schema:ScholarlyArticle      Open Access: True


Article Info

DATE

2020-08-06

AUTHORS

Erwan Mazarico, Xiaoli Sun, Jean-Marie Torre, Clément Courde, Julien Chabé, Mourad Aimar, Hervé Mariey, Nicolas Maurice, Michael K. Barker, Dandan Mao, Daniel R. Cremons, Sébastien Bouquillon, Teddy Carlucci, Vishnu Viswanathan, Frank G. Lemoine, Adrien Bourgoin, Pierre Exertier, Gregory A. Neumann, Maria T. Zuber, David E. Smith

ABSTRACT

We present the results of the first series of successful two-way laser ranging experiments from a ground station, the Lunar Laser Ranging (LLR) station in Grasse, France, to a spacecraft at lunar distance, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). A 15 × 18 × 5 cm, 650-g array of twelve 32-mm diameter solid corner cubes is mounted on its anti-nadir deck. Ranging to this small retro-reflector array onboard a lunar orbiter from a ground station was a challenge compared to ranging to larger lunar surface retro-reflectors. Grasse measured 67 returns in two 6-min sessions on September 4, 2018. Clear returns were also recorded during two additional sessions on August 23–24, 2019 for which active slewing by LRO was performed to bring the array in view of the station. The measured echos yielded range residuals less than 3 cm (two-way time-of-flight RMS < 180 ps) relative to the reconstructed LRO trajectory. This experiment provides a new method of verifying theories of dust accumulation over decades on the lunar surface. It also showed that the use of similar arrays onboard future lunar landers and orbiters can support LLR lunar science goals, particularly with landing sites near the lunar limbs and poles, which would have better sensitivity to lunar orientation. More... »

PAGES

113

Identifiers

URI

http://scigraph.springernature.com/pub.10.1186/s40623-020-01243-w

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40623-020-01243-w

DIMENSIONS

https://app.dimensions.ai/details/publication/pub.1129933018


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13 schema:description We present the results of the first series of successful two-way laser ranging experiments from a ground station, the Lunar Laser Ranging (LLR) station in Grasse, France, to a spacecraft at lunar distance, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). A 15 × 18 × 5 cm, 650-g array of twelve 32-mm diameter solid corner cubes is mounted on its anti-nadir deck. Ranging to this small retro-reflector array onboard a lunar orbiter from a ground station was a challenge compared to ranging to larger lunar surface retro-reflectors. Grasse measured 67 returns in two 6-min sessions on September 4, 2018. Clear returns were also recorded during two additional sessions on August 23–24, 2019 for which active slewing by LRO was performed to bring the array in view of the station. The measured echos yielded range residuals less than 3 cm (two-way time-of-flight RMS < 180 ps) relative to the reconstructed LRO trajectory. This experiment provides a new method of verifying theories of dust accumulation over decades on the lunar surface. It also showed that the use of similar arrays onboard future lunar landers and orbiters can support LLR lunar science goals, particularly with landing sites near the lunar limbs and poles, which would have better sensitivity to lunar orientation.
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