|The phrase "lunar telescope" conjures the image of a manned base with a resident staff of astronomers. Accompanying this image are a century-scale timeline and a budget far exceeding that of the Space Station. Recent advances in miniaturized electronics and lightweight materials, together with the maturation of mobile robot technology, make possible a new image of an unmanned observatory that is constructed and operated from Earth using telerobotics on a decade-scale timeline.|
Carnegie Mellon University proposes a five-year program to develop telerobotic technologies to deploy elements of a lunar optical interferometer. The program will demonstrate rover deployment of optical telescopes within a 1 kilometer diameter circle. The telescopes will each point at the same star, and relay the gathered light to a simulated beam combiner on a central lander mock-up.
Key research issues include the following: