Applied optics | 2019
Small and lightweight laser retro-reflector arrays for lunar landers.
A set of small and lightweight laser retro-reflector arrays (LRAs) was fabricated and tested for use on lunar landers under NASA s Commercial Lunar Payload Service program. Each array contains eight 1.27-cm-diameter corner cube retro-reflectors mounted on a dome-shaped aluminum structure. The arrays are 5.0 cm in diameter at the base, 1.6 cm in height, and 20 g in mass. They can be tracked by an orbiting laser altimeter, such as the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter, from a distance of a few hundred kilometers or by a landing lidar on future lunar landers. The LRAs demonstrated a diffraction-limited optical performance. They were designed and tested to survive and function on the Moon for decades, well after the lander missions are completed.