Optical and Thermal Radiative Simulation of an Earth Radiation Budget Instrument

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Virginia Tech


Researchers at the NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) are developing a next-generation instrument for monitoring the Earth radiation budget (ERB) from low Earth orbit. This instrument is called the DEMonstrating the Emerging Technology for measuring the Earth's Radiation (DEMETER) instrument. DEMETER is a candidate to replace the Clouds and Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) instruments which currently monitor the ERB. LaRC has partnered with the Thermal Radiation Group at Virginia Tech to model and evaluate the thermal and optical design of the DEMETER instrument. The effort reported here deals with the numerical modeling of the optical and thermal radiative performance the DEMETER instrument. The numerical model is based on the Monte Carlo Ray-Trace (MCRT) method. The major optical components of the instrument are incorporated into the ray-trace model using 3-D surface equations. A CAD model of the instrument baffle is imported directly into the ray-trace environment using an STL triangular mesh. The instrument uses a single freeform mirror to focus radiation on the detector. A method for incorporating freeform surfaces into a ray-trace model is described. The development and capabilities of the model are reported. The model is used to run several ray-traces to compare two different quasi-black surface coatings for the DEMETER telescope baffle. Included is a list of future tests the Thermal Radiation Group will use the model to accomplish.



Earth Radiation Budget, DEMETER, Ray-Tracing