NASA agrees to fund moon based telescope

Space Science

The proposed telescope would be a 1km-diameter wire-mesh that can gaze out into the cosmos without being hindered by the Earth’s atmosphere.
(Image: © Saptarshi Bandyopadhyay)

MYSTERY WIRE — When you hear someone talking about the dark side of the moon, you might hear Pink Floyd playing in your mind. But soon, when you think about the dark side of the moon, you might be thinking about a giant telescope.

NASA recently announced it is helping fund an early study into the feasibility to build a large meshed telescope in a crater. The funding was recently written about on both Vice Motherboard and livescience.

If built, the telescope would give an unparalleled view of the universe. One we cannot get from Earth. It is called the dark side of the moon after all. By locating the telescope here, it “could enable tremendous scientific discoveries in the field of cosmology by observing the early universe in the 10– 50m wavelength band…which has not been explored by humans till-date,” according to Saptarshi Bandyopadhyay, a robotics technologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Motherboard reported, Called the Lunar Crater Radio Telescope (LCRT), the proposal is the brainchild of Saptarshi Bandyopadhyay, a robotics technologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. On Tuesday, LCRT was selected for initial “Phase 1” funding ($125,000) by NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program, which aims to explore advanced, far-future technologies. LCRT is still in “very early stages of development,” said Bandyopadhyay in an email, noting that “the objective of Phase 1 is to study the feasibility of the LCRT concept.”

The method of building a telescope of this scale would be like nothing we have ever seen before. The LCRT could be two to three miles across. Motherboard writes the scaffolding for construction could be delivered and built by NASA’s DuAxel rovers.

The telescope would be deployed in a lunar crater on the far-side. (Image credit: Saptarshi Bandyopadhyay)

Livescience reports, if built, the “Lunar Crater Radio Telescope” would be the largest filled-aperture radio telescope in the solar system, Bandyopadhyay wrote. A filled-aperture radio telescope is a telescope that uses a single dish to collect data rather than many dishes, according to Vice. 

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