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Long-Range Transhorizon Lunar Surface Radio Wave Propagation in the Presence of a Regolith and a Sparse Exospheric PlasmaLong-range, over-the-horizon (transhorizon) radio wave propagation is considered for the case of the Moon. In the event that relay satellites are not available or otherwise unwarranted for use, transhorizon communication provides for a contingency or backup option for non line-of-sight lunar surface exploration scenarios. Two potential low-frequency propagation mechanisms characteristic of the lunar landscape are the lunar regolith and the photoelectron induced plasma exosphere enveloping the Moon. Although it was hoped that the regolith would provide for a spherical waveguide which could support a trapped surface wave phenomena, it is found that, in most cases, the regolith is deleterious to long range radio wave propagation. However, the presence of the plasma of the lunar exosphere supports wave propagation and, in fact, surpasses the attenuation of the regolith. Given the models of the regolith and exosphere adopted here, it is recommended that a frequency of 1 MHz be considered for low rate data transmission along the lunar surface. It is also recommended that further research be done to capture the descriptive physics of the regolith and the exospheric plasma so that a more complete model can be obtained. This comprehensive theoretical study is based entirely on first principles and the mathematical techniques needed are developed as required; it is self-contained and should not require the use of outside resources for its understanding.
Document ID
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
Manning, Robert M.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
October 1, 2008
Subject Category
Space Communications, Spacecraft Communications, Command And Tracking
Report/Patent Number
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 903184.
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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