NASA has just announced that it has selected JPL’s Lunar Crater Radio Telescope advanced concept for further research and development. This ultra-long-wavelength radio telescope on the far-side of the Moon has several advantages compared to Earth-based and Earth-orbiting telescopes, including being able to observe the universe at wavelengths greater than 10m (i.e., frequencies below 30MHz) and having the Moon act as a physical shield that isolates the lunar-surface telescope from radio interferences/noises from Earth-based sources. Read more for two videos and additional information.
The Moon will also shield this telescope from interference involving the ionosphere, Earth-orbiting satellites, and the Sun’s radio-noise during the lunar night. A 1km-diameter wire-mesh will be constructed with the help of wall-climbing DuAxel robots in a 3-5km-diameter lunar crater on the far-side, complete with a suitable depth-to-diameter ratio, to form a sphericalcap reflector. Once completed, it will be the largest filled-aperture radio telescope in the Solar System. This means possible groundbreaking scientific discoveries in the field of cosmology by observing the early universe in the 10– 50m wavelength band (i.e., 6–30MHz frequency band), which has not yet been explored by humans.
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Creativity is key to future space exploration, and fostering revolutionary ideas today that may sound outlandish will prepare us for new missions and fresh exploration approaches in the coming decades,” said Jim Reuter, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD).