NASA to build massive telescope on far side of the moon

NASA is funding a proposal to potentially build a telescope inside a crater on the far side of the moon, reports Vice.

Since the far side of the moon always faces away from Earth, any radio transmissions that humans send out never reach this part of the lunar landscape.

In a proposal, Saptarshi Bandyopadhyay, a robotics technologist with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, writes that the ultra-long-wavelength radio telescope would be called the Lunar Crater Radio Telescope (LCRT) and would have "tremendous" advantages compared to telescopes on our planet.

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A still from the newly-released video that shows the views from the Apollo 13 mission's trip around the moon. (NASA Goddard/YouTube)

A still from the newly-released video that shows the views from the Apollo 13 mission's trip around the moon. (NASA Goddard/YouTube) (NASA Goddard/YouTube)

NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts Program is awarding $125,000 for a Phase 1 study to understand the feasibility of such a telescope, Bandyopadhyay explained to Vice. This early-stage effort aims to explore advanced, far-future technologies.

If it gets built, the Lunar Crater Telescope would be the "largest filled-aperture radio telescope in the Solar System," Bandyopadhyay wrote in the proposal.

Notional view of LCRT on the far-side of the Moon. (Courtesy of Saptarshi Bandyopadhyay)

Notional view of LCRT on the far-side of the Moon. (Courtesy of Saptarshi Bandyopadhyay) (Saptarshi Bandyopadhyay)

“LCRT could enable tremendous scientific discoveries in the field of cosmology by observing the early universe in the 10–50m wavelength band (i.e., 6–30MHz frequency band), which has not been explored by humans to date," Bandyopadhyay said in the proposal abstract.

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