NASA has telescopes on Earth and in space,media CNET reported. What about the telescope on the moon? NASA announced Tuesday that it has selected the idea of a lunar crater radio telescope, funded through NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts Program (NIAC). The first phase of the award will be awarded to projects in the early stages of development.
Sapharshi Bandyopadhyay, a robotics expert at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is behind the lunar dream. To realize this dream, robots need to be sent to the far reaches of the moon and machines to lay barbed wire above craters. Bandyopadhyay’s proposal lists the benefits of placing telescopes at the far end of the moon, including “the moon as a physical barrier that separates the lunar telescope from radio interference/noise from Earth sources, the ionosphere, Earth-orbiting satellites, and the sun during the lunar night”.
The Lunar Telescope Project is one of 23 concepts that received $7 million in funding through NIAC. The first phase of the prize money includes $125,000 to fund a nine-month study of the concept. Other ideas include an investigation of solar sails, lunar landing sites and The Titan robotic probe.
NASA says most of these projects require a decade or more of technical development, and they are not yet NASA’s official mission. However, these fascinating ideas deserve in-depth study, and one day may move from concept to reality.