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Re: RTG/Moon/etc.

On Monday, Apr 28, 2003, at 09:43 US/Central, Davidoff, Martin wrote:

> 	One advantage of an RTG power source is that you
> don't need a rocket.  Just pile up the required
> paperwork and it will reach the moon.

LOL!!  All too true.  If only it wasn't the only power source that 
looked like it had any chance of being practical ..

> 	All suggestions for a moon transponder are based
> on the unstated assumption that "solid ground" has advantages
> over a gravity field as a platform for an amateur satellite.
> 	Since there aren't any AC outlets to plug into on the moon
> (last I heard) the only advantage I see is free attitude control
> and this is totally overwhelmed by the disadvantages
> (thermal, path loss, path delay time, landing!)

Another disadvantage:  The transponder would be sitting on "solid 
ground" that is quite hot.  This would have an effect on the noise 
floor, although it would be somewhat less during lunar night.  Not 
quite the same as a transponder floating in orbit against a background 
of cold sky.

Biggest benefit I can see of this project is the pride of knowing that 
it was done successfully.  You gotta admit this would be worth some 
major bragging rights, even if all we did was design it and get a ride 
on somebody else's mission.  Somehow putting a payload on the lunar 
surface captures people's imagination more than getting to LEO, or at 
least it did back in the day .. something tells me a few carefully 
placed press releases would help give AMSAT and ham radio in general 
some really good media hits.  You're right, it wouldn't necessarily 
have major technical advantages other than shaving several dB off the 
EME path, but wouldn't it be neat to know you're working DX through a 
transponder at a lunar landing site?  ;-)

I don't know.  It's a BIG investment and commitment of resources.  It 
would take some very serious financial backing, and engineering that 
would make AO-40 look tame by comparison.  So why do it?  Because it's 
there, I guess .. it's a challenge that captivates the imagination.  
(Obviously, because it keeps coming up in discussion..)  I know if I 
had the money to invest in it, I would ..
           --... ...-- -.. . -. ..... ...- -...
                   Bruce Bostwick N5VB

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