Published: Nov. 23, 2020

Author: Jack O. Burns

Abstract: The farside of the Moon is a pristine, quiet platform to conduct low radio frequency observations of the early Universe's Dark Ages, as well as space weather and magnetospheres associated with habitable exoplanets. In this paper, NASA-funded concept studies will be described including a lunar-orbiting spacecraft, DAPPER, that will measure the 21 cm global spectrum at redshifts 40-80, and an array of low frequency dipoles on the lunar farside surface, FARSIDE. DAPPER observations (17-38 MHz), using a single cross-dipole antenna, will measure the amplitude of the 21 cm spectrum to the level required to distinguish the standard {\Lambda}CDM cosmological model from those of additional cooling models possibly produced by exotic physics such as dark matter interactions. FARSIDE has a notional architecture consisting of 128 dipole antennas deployed across a 10 km area by a rover. FARSIDE would image the entire sky each minute in 1400 channels over 0.1-40 MHz. This would enable monitoring of the nearest stellar systems for the radio signatures of coronal mass ejections and energetic particle events, and would also detect the magnetospheres of the nearest candidate habitable exoplanets. In addition, FARSIDE would determine the Dark Ages global 21 cm signal at yet lower frequencies and provide a pathfinder for power spectrum measurements. Read more via the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A online research articles.