Structural design of a lunar radio telescope using interactive CAD

Akgül, Ferhat
Gerstle, W H
Johnson, S
Some astronomers are considering the moon as an attractive location within the inner solar system for a variety of astronomical observatories, some of which could be operational early in the 21st century. This paper describes the computer‐aided structural design of a 122‐m diameter, fully steerable, parabolic radio telescope to be located on the moon. The loads acting on such a reflector differ substantially from those acting on a reflector that must operate in earth's environment. The moon has excellent advantages as a location for such an instrument. The absence of atmosphere completely eliminates the wind, snow, and ice loads. The gravity field is only one‐sixth that of earth's. The thermal changes from night to day are severe, but structural problems can be avoided by using a thermally stable composite material. Structural elements for the reflector dish have been analyzed and designed for static loads with a specially written interactive graphical computer program. The resulting structure has a mass nearly 40 times less than its earth's counterpart made of steel. The evaluation of the results of the design studies supports the possibility of building a large‐aperture parabolic radio telescope on the moon.
Citation Formats
F. Akgül, W. H. Gerstle, and S. Johnson, “Structural design of a lunar radio telescope using interactive CAD,” pp. 12–23, 1992, Accessed: 00, 2021. [Online]. Available: