A NASA Telescope on the Moon’s Far Side Would Explore the Universe’s ‘Dark Ages’

To understand even more about our mysterious and vast universe, NASA is working with the Department of Energy on an ambitious moon Project. The two agencies announced that they will develop and deploy a radio telescope called the Lunar Surface Electromagnetics Experiment – ​​​​Night (LuSEE-Night) on the far side of the moon as part of a larger effort to study the Dark Ages of the Universe.

Temperatures on the lunar surface can vary between 250 degrees Fahrenheit (120 degrees Celsius) and -280 F (-173 C), which can disrupt data collection and cause instruments to freeze. As a demonstration mission, the main goal of LuSEE-Night is not to collect scientific data, but simply to survive the harsh environment on the far side of the moon to test the feasibility of installing future telescopes there. Whatever radio observations it collects, it will be a welcome bonus.

“LuSEE-Night is a fascinating experiment that brings us closer to observing something we’ve never been able to see before — the Dark Ages signal,” said Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, DOE Director of the Office of Science, in a NASA release. “With this collaboration, DOE and NASA are setting the stage for successful exploration of medieval cosmology for decades to come.”

Protected from the constant barrage of radio waves emanating from the Earth’s surface, the far side of the Moon is the perfect location for a radio telescope like LuSEE-Night. Likewise, the Moon lacks a strong ionosphere, which can also disrupt incoming radio waves that a telescope might pick up. From its strategic position, LuSEE-Night will use four antennas to collect radio signals in the range from 0.1 to 50 megahertz.

The so-called Dark Ages occurred approximately 380,000 to 400 million years after the Big Bang, before stars and galaxies began to form and light up space. NASA says radio waves are the only evidence of the Middle Ages, making the moon’s far side the best place to collect these signals.

NASA has a similar telescope idea called the 2020 Lunar Crater Radio Telescopewho would see the construction of one Arecibo-like telescope in a natural crater on the far side of the moon. The Lunar Crater Telescope has received $500,000 in funding from NASA so far and also aims to collect radio waves from the earliest days of the Universe.

The LuSEE Night can start already 2025 on a mission by Commercial Lunar Payload Services. According to DOE, Brookhaven National Laboratory will develop the telescope’s radio receiver, electronics, and power systems, while Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will develop various antenna hardware.

More: Over a billion galaxies shine in a new sky map

https://gizmodo.com/nasa-doe-lusee-night-moon-far-side-telescope-dark-ages-1850233952 A NASA Telescope on the Moon’s Far Side Would Explore the Universe’s ‘Dark Ages’

Zack Zwiezen

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