Philip P. Ide

Author, programmer, science enthusiast, half-wit.
Life is sweet. Have you tasted it lately?

User Tools

Site Tools


blog:articles:science:nasa_technologies:most_space_telescope

THE MOST Space Telescope

[Disambiguation: this page is about The High Étendue Multiple Object Spectrographic Telescope, not Canada's MOST space telescope]

Few telescopes can honestly say they've reinvented the concept, yet THE MOST certainly has. It works on a surprisingly old principle, by passing light through two prisms. As Isaac Newton demonstrated, this first splits light into its constituent components, then recombines it back again.

What's the point of that? You might well ask, and the answer is both intriguing and compelling: as the light emerges from the second prism, the focal distance can be controlled to a short distance from it.

With conventional mirror-based telescopes, the light is focussed some distance from the primary mirror, and that distance increases with the size of the mirror. Sending big things into space is both difficult and costly, and there is a reason why the Hubble Space Telescope is limited to the size it is. Additionally, sending a mirror into space is incredibly fraught with potential for disaster - a single crack or pit in the mirror and it can be ruined, and launching is a period filled with heavy vibration.

THE MOST (The High Étendue Multiple Object Spectrographic Telescope) resolves these issues. It uses a material that can be rolled up for launch and unrolled for deployment. It does not have to have the same tolerance for surface errors as a mirror, and is much lighter. Once in space, it is rigged to a framework printed on a 3D printer.

A small mirror catches the starlight as it emerges from the prism and directs it to the secondary prism. A small “grazing” angle allows this to occur very close to the primary prism surface. Further, the telescope can be much bigger and at significantly less cost than a conventional optical or radio telescope. Even better yet, it covers a vast area of the sky in detail without sacrificing angle as other telescopes do when they 'zoom-in'.

With conventional telescopes, the size of the spectrographic collector (mirror for optical telescopes, dish for radio telescopes) is limited to the diameter of the launch vehicle's payload module. With THE MOST, the width of the prism is confined to the length of the payload module, and the length of the prism is limited to how much they can roll up and still fit in the width of the payload module. Size can be increased further by launching the two prisms separately, and as for the printed rig it attaches to, the only requirement is it is there when the prisms arrive. This means the rig can be sent with the prisms or ahead of them, and the rig itself could, in theory, be launched in pieces and assembled in-situ.

If you're interested in astronomy and/or space telescopes, and this isn't giving you goosebumps, check your pulse and be ready to call the emergency services.

https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/spacetech/niac/2019_Phase_I_Phase_II/The_Most/

This website uses cookies. By using the website, you agree with storing cookies on your computer. Also you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Privacy Policy. If you do not agree leave the website.More information about cookies
blog/articles/science/nasa_technologies/most_space_telescope.txt · Last modified: 2020/11/01 11:39 by Phil Ide

Except where otherwise noted, content on this wiki is licensed under the following license: Copyright © Phil Ide
Donate Powered by PHP Valid HTML5 Valid CSS Driven by DokuWiki
  • ISSplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigInternational Space Station

    This page has a portal through which you can view the current location of the International Space Station, updating in real-time. The tracker itself comes from the European Space Agency (ESA).

    There is also a handy link to get email notifications direct from NASA when the ISS is visible in your night sky.
  • Mars Weatherplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigMars Weather

    Weather Reports Insight Lander Perseverance Rover Curiosity data to come Follow Conjunctions as they occur.

    Martian Day

    The Martian day is 39 mins 35.244 secs longer than a standard day. This means that approx every 36.1 days the Earth weather date skips a day while the Martian Sol marches on as normal. You can see this in the Insight data. April 16th 2019 seems to be missing, yet the Sols on April 15th and April 17th are consecutive.
  • Downloadsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigDownloads

    Orbital Calculator Current Version This is a portable application, meaning there is no installer. Just unzip into a folder and run the executable. Since it is portable, it can be run from a USB stick.

    A full description and a list of the features are available
  • Orbital Calculatorplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigOrbital Calculator

    I needed to calculate orbital characteristics for any orbit around any gravitational mass (because I write sci-fi stories), so I wrote this program because I'm a programmer and I'm too lazy to do it by hand all the time. The program has expanded over the last few years, sometimes from suggestions by other writers. I make it freely available and as simple to use as possible. It now has a list of functions as long as your arm (assuming you're not a tentacle user), and the numbe…
  • Cookie Policy & GDPRplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigCookie Policy & GDPR

    There are NO tracking cookies on this site!

    The Cookie policy is straightforward. This site only uses cookies that are required to make your experience of using this site better, and only uses session cookies (see exceptions below). Session cookies are deleted when you close your browser.
  • Book Reviewsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigBook Reviews

    Here you can find all the book reviews, broken down by genre, and further subdivided by author. If you want me to review your novel, please read my Rules on Reviewing.

    * Science-Fiction * Fantasy * Non-Fiction
  • Contactplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigContact

    If you have a burning desire to contact me, use the discussion form below. Anything you say remains private between you and me.