LUNAR webinar, 1st Mar. 2013

Abhi Datta (CU Boulder)

The Dark Ages Radio Explorer (DARE): An Update



Observations of the HI 21 cm transition line promise to be an important probe into the cosmic Dark Ages and Epoch of Reionization. The Dark Ages Radio Explorer (DARE) is designed to measure the sky-averaged 21-cm signal from this cosmic age using a single radiometer operating between 40 and 120 MHz (redshifts z=11–35). DARE will orbit the Moon for a mission lifetime of <3 years and take data above the lunar far side, where it is shielded from the Earth's intense interference. The science objectives of DARE include formation of first stars, first accreting black holes, beginning of reionization and end of the Dark Ages. The science instrument is composed of a three-element radiometer, including electrically-short, tapered, bi-conical dipole antennas, a receiver, and a digital spectrometer. Although the TRL (Technology Readiness Level) of the individual components of DARE instrument is high, the overall instrument TRL is low. One of the main aim of the entire DARE team is to advance the instrument TRL. An engineering prototype is currently deployed near the future SKA-low site in Western Australia for an end-to-end validation of the instrument and our calibration techniques. This talk will focus the DARE mission concept and latest results from the observations with the DARE prototype. The ground based data shows effects of RFI (Radio Frequency Interference) and the Ionosphere, the two major challenges for a ground based DARE-like experiment.