Scheme to Plant Telescope on Moon Gathers Steam

MIT, Navy working on far-side plans
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 25, 2008 5:16 AM CST
The moon is a much better location for an observatory than Earth-bound places like Griffith Park, since the lunar position avoids radio noise and distortion from the Earth's atmosphere. (AP Photo/Richard...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The moon may have to start earning its keep if NASA gets its way. With the far side of our lunar satellite a perfect environment for delicate, deep-space measurements, two research teams are furiously plotting ways to deploy astronomy equipment there. If astronauts return to the moon after 2019, they might bring new telescopes with them to plant on the lunar surface, reports the Washington Post.

Teams from MIT and the Naval Research Laboratory received grants from NASA to look into the feasibility of deploying a radio telescope on the moon. The location would be perfect: outside of the Earth's pesky ionosphere and shielded (by the moon itself) from the noisy radio signals that foul up telescopic readings on the ground. "The results could be very dramatic," promises one researcher.