The Green Bank Observatory (GBO) and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) of the National Science Foundation and Raytheon Intelligence & Space conducted a test in November to prove that a new radio telescope system was capable of high resolution images can accommodate near-earth space

GBO’s Green Bank Telescope (GBT) in West Virginia – the world’s largest fully steerable radio telescope – has been outfitted with a new transmitter developed by Raytheon Intelligence & Space that enables the transmission of a radar signal into space The continent-wide Very The NRAO’s Long Baseline Array (VLBA) received the reflected signal and generated images of the Apollo 15 lunar landing site

The proof-of-concept test, which lasts two years, paves the way for the development of a more powerful transmitter for the telescope. More power enables improved detection and imaging of small objects passing by the earth, moons that are around other planets and other debris in the solar system orbit

The technology was developed under a collaborative research and development agreement between NRAO, GBO and Raytheon

“This project opens up a number of new capabilities for NRAO and GBO,” said Tony Beasley, director of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and vice president of radio astronomy at Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI) “We have already participated in major radar studies of the solar system, but converting the GBT into a controllable planetary radar transmitter will greatly expand our ability to pursue fascinating new lines of research”

Using the information gathered in this latest test, participants will finalize a plan to develop a 500-kilowatt high-powered radar system that can map objects in the solar system with unprecedented level of detail and sensitivity.The increased performance will also enable astronomers to detect radar signals up to to use the orbits of Uranus and Neptune, which improves our understanding of the solar system

“The proposed system will be a leap forward in radar science and provide access to never-before-seen features of the solar system from here on Earth,” said Karen O’Neil, Green Bank Observatory site director

“Raytheon’s radar techniques could ultimately improve our ability to explore the solar system,” said Steven Wilkinson, Principal Engineering Fellow at Raytheon Intelligence & Space. “By working with astronomy, we can apply decades of radar expertise to a project that delivers high-resolution images of near-earth objects “

“We are excited to partner with Raytheon and use their radar expertise to transform the telescopes of our observatories into new areas of science,” said AUI President Adam Cohen

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory and the Green Bank Observatory are National Science Foundation facilities established under a collaborative agreement between Associated Universities, Inc operated

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World news – AU – Successful test paves the way for new planetary radar

Source: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-01/nrao-stp012821.php