archiv~1.txt: SETI Moon Orbit? Nahhh...

SETI Moon Orbit? Nahhh...

John Bush ( )
Tue, 2 Mar 1999 17:17:51 -0800 (PST)

Here's a post from the SETI League list, another bunch of amateurs (hams,
and not ashamed to admit it). Are there any experimental rocket scientists
out there with any comments on the following suggestion?

>Return-Path: <>
>Posted-Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 12:35:17 -0800 (PST)
>Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 14:49:30 -0500 (EST)
>From: Jordana LeSesne <>
>Subject: SETISat anyone?
>Hello all,
>I'm new to this list but has anyone investigated the possibility of a
>private probe being sent to the moon to do SETI. It seems to me that as
>the cost of launching a paylod comes down this will be a viable option for
>"amateur" SETI. One could envision the following:
>A small probe designed by SETI League members, university students and
>many volunteers in the field of aerospace. It would be another AMSAT only
>it would orbit the moon rather than the earth.
>The spacecraft:
>A Modified existing communications satellite design
>Several pentium 2 or 3 motherboards to do real-time processing,
>analysis, and storage perhaps usinging a specialized version of PAOOS.
>They would also be responsible for control of the downlink transmitter
>A 10 GB hard disk for short term storage. (routine information - low
>priority hits, etc)
>A DDS-4 20 GB DAT for longer term storage (high priority hits, repeated
>observations, etc)
>A custom made radio receiver or a modification of an existing design.
>A custom made downlink transmitter or modification of an existing design.
>A small dish antenna for data collection (remember since observations
>would be made on the lunar farside and thus blocked from earthbound noise
>a small antenna might pick up signals that would be missed by larger
>earthbound antennas). one might even imagine the use of an inflateable
>antenna which would obviously be able to be larger than a rigid one. More
>study of inflateable parabolics antennas need have to be done first.
>a smaller antenna for the downlink transmitter positioned on the space
>craft in such a way that minimal fuel would have to be expended to hit the
>earth with the downlink.
>The mission:
>The satellite would orbit the moon in such a way that once or twice a day
>it would be within view of the earth. This would be the time it downlinks
>telemetry, health of the spacecraft, and data of interesting hits in the
>past period of time the craft has been out of contact.During the time on
>the lunar farside it would listen for anything interesting and
> begin running tests on the signal according to the automated search
>strategies that would have been preloaded into the computer on earth.
>[There would would be very little reason for the earth to uplink anything
>and this would help keep costs down - should anything *Really* interesting
>be noticed the ground station would alert Argus and the larger radio
>observatories of the world would be alerted to follow up.
>I'd imagine the total cost of such a craft and mission (exluding launch
>costs) would be around $500,000 US or about twice the cost of SETI@Home.
>I'm sure that amount of money could be raised by various amateur
>radio, space advocacy, and sci-fi organizations along with some corporate
>sponsorship. Perhaps most of the computer stuff could be donated by Intel
>or something? Maybe a major Hollywood sci-fi picture would done nate some
>of their box office or home video revenue to the project (Contact?) The
>main obsticle will probably be in the cost of the launch and even that
>could probably be brought down by using one of the new private launch
>vehicles. Perhaps promising the merchandising rights to sell "SETI-Sat"
>stuff when the discovery is confirmed to a large toy manufacturer or
>something would also be a source of revenue.
>I'd imagine that the ground station would be nothing more than a beefed up
>moonbounce station that some radio amateurs put together to receive the
>probes downlink. Again there would be no need for an uplink since the
>probe would be artificially intelligent though if absolutely needed an
>uplink/downlink system could be designed with a small increase in mission
>This would be Project Argus's "ear in the sky" and it would be a
>revolution in the way SETI is done. So the questions are: Has this been
>thought of? Is there anything I overlooked? If it is practical When could
>we put something together like this? I envision this project leaving the
>ground within in the next decade if it were started on today.
>just another college student with wide-eyed dreams,