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NASA announces a giant radio telescope project in a crater on the moon

WASHINGTON, (BM) – NASA has published a list of grants allocated for the implementation of innovative space projects. One of them is the construction of a giant radio telescope in the crater on the moon.

This was reported on the website of the agency, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.

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The project of the Lunar Crater Radio Telescope (LCRT) – an ultra-long-wave radio telescope that will be located in one of the craters on the opposite side of the Moon, was proposed in 2018. Such a telescope will have enormous advantages over telescopes based on the Earth and in the Earth’s orbit, since it will be able to observe the Universe at wavelengths that are reflected by the Earth’s ionosphere and have not yet been investigated.

The Moon itself will act as a physical screen that isolates the telescope from radio interference from ground sources, the ionosphere, Earth’s orbiting satellites and solar radio noise during a moonlit night.

“The LCRT could make huge scientific discoveries in the field of cosmology by observing the early Universe in the wavelength range of 10-50 meters (frequency band 6-30 megahertz), which has not yet been studied by people,” the NASA press release quoted Project Manager Saptarshi Bandyopadhyay, Robotics Technologist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

Now this project is officially included in the NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program, combining the most unusual futuristic concepts.

According to plans, DuAxel rover robots will have to deploy a wire mesh with a diameter of about 1 kilometer inside a lunar crater ranging in size from 3 to 5 kilometers – in which scientists have not yet decided. An overhead receiver will be placed in the center of the wire structure. All construction is fully automated and will take place without the participation of human operators.

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“The LCRT radio telescope with a diameter of 1 kilometer will be the largest full-aperture radio telescope in the solar system,” the project description says.

Now the largest ground-based full-aperture radio telescope is the FAST Spherical Radio Telescope under construction in China, which has a diameter of 500 meters. The Lunar Crater radio telescope will be twice as large.

China and the Netherlands have already installed a radio telescope that transmits data to Earth via satellites on the opposite side of the moon, although it is much smaller and the radio waves with which it can work are much shorter. But this event served as an incentive for NASA to provide funding for the LCRT project. The stage of preparing documentation for the plan will take nine months.

According to Bandyopadhyay, the implementation of the project will be an extremely important scientific achievement, and the LCRT telescope will receive tremendous advantages over ground-based and orbital radio telescopes.

“Just imagine: no ionospheric interference and radio noise. Astronomers will be able to study the Universe in such a wide range of waves that will never be accessible from Earth because of its atmosphere. It is difficult to even imagine what discoveries about space await mankind using a radio telescope on the Moon.” – notes the project manager.

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“Of course, the construction of the telescope is still at the very early stage of planning, and it is not yet clear which crater will be used for work, but this is a crazy project that the whole world will follow in the coming years. If everything succeeds, it will go down in history “ concluded Bandyopadhyay

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