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NASA is considering transforming a lunar crater into a huge, powerful telescope

This concept design shows how a lunar telescope would use a wire mesh with a hanging receiver in the middle. Finding it on the other hand would protect it from annoying "noise" from Earth.

Saptarshi Bandyopadhyay

We have telescopes on Earth. We have telescopes in space. So how about a telescope on the moon? It has so many beautiful craters that are already in the shape of a telescopic bowl.

NASA has selected an idea for a lunar crater radio telescope to be funded by the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program announced on Tuesday. The Phase I Prize goes to projects in the very early stages of development.

Saptarshi Bandyopadhyay, a robot technologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is the spirit behind the moon dream. To achieve this, robots would have to be sent to the other side of the moon and a wire mesh would have to be attached over a crater.

Bandyopadhayay's proposal lists the advantages of locating a telescope on the other side of the moon, including the fact that "the moon acts as a physical shield that isolates the lunar surface telescope from radio interference / noise from earth-based sources, the ionosphere. Orbiting satellites and radio noise from the sun during the lunar night. "

The lunar telescope project is one of 23 concepts that, through NIAC, are part of an investment of $ 7 million (£ 5.6 million, AU 1

1.2 million) $) received. The Phase I award includes $ 125,000 to fund a nine-month study of the idea. Other concepts include the study of awnings, lunar landing sites and a robot researcher for Saturn's moon Enceladus.

NASA pointed out that these projects usually require a decade or more of technological development and are not official NASA missions. However, these fascinating ideas deserve further investigation and could one day transition from concept to reality.

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