Telescopes mounted on Earth had been extremely beneficial for humanity in general and for astronomy in particular. Grasping insights from the far depths of the Cosmos and seeing numerous stars, galaxies, quasars, and other celestial objects is certainly something worth mentioning. But humanity could benefit even more from a telescope if it’s placed somewhere else.
Some people wonder how the Moon is helping Earth. Except for the fact that our natural satellite can moderate our planet’s wobble on its axis, which leads to a relatively stable climate, and that it causes tides, it can become helpful in another way. As a new article from Salon.com reveals, that new way is represented by our Moon hosting a future telescope built by humans.
A plan for building an observatory on the Moon is in the works
Last year, NASA awarded $500,000 to the Lunar Crater Radio Telescope (LCRT) for both research and development. The goal is to get robots to build a massive radio telescope on the far side of the Moon. The entire structure would measure 100 meters long.
Earth’s conditions impose some limitations when it comes to using telescopes from its surface to study the heavens. The dense atmosphere, the light pollution, as well as the electronic radiation are all contributing to not being able to observe the Universe too clear.
Cosmic observations from the Moon’s surface would be improved due to the lack of atmosphere and radiation of our natural satellite, at least when it comes to cosmic radio waves.
Saptarshi Bandyopadhyay, who is a Robotics Technologist at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and also a lead researcher on the LCRT project, declared in an interview with Salon.com:
Because the ionosphere is such a strong source, even [by] putting a satellite around it we won’t be able to observe any of those wavelengths . . . it basically drowns out all the signals [over 10 meters],
So we need to go to a place where we are shielded from Earth, and the best place to go is to go to is the far side of the Moon.
There you have it, just in case you wanted another reason to wait for a new mission to the Moon. However, NASA hopes to send humans there once again by 2025 during the Artemis program.