posted on Apr, 30 2013 @ 10:32 AM
Originally posted by samkent
If it were in permanet shadow would it even need coolant?
Or is it the heat generated by the onboard electronics?
The idea is to cool the sensors down to almost absolute zero, which is -459.67 deg F or -273.15 deg C. which makes the sensors so sensitive to any
infrared they can see from light years away.
The coldest place in our solar system is in some of the craters of like our moon that never see any sun light, at about -240 deg C, so even there, it
doesn't get as cold as absolute zero, so even there the sensors would not be as sensitive.
In order for any of these IR telescopes to be in shadow all the time would require station keeping thrusters,since there is no orbit that would keep a
craft out of view of our sun. The only other options would be to send them as far away as Voyager 1 and 2 are now.
Even then, as you asked, the electronics on board would generate heat that would need to be removed by a cooling system.
It's all about sensitivity. If you want to locate an object that emits heat that is very, very far away, or very small, you have to have the
equipment that is going to detect it very sensitive, and that means making it as cold as you possibly can. The colder, the better.
So using the coolant system, we're able to make them colder then anywhere else in our solar system.