Published: Sept. 30, 2020 By

 NRAO/AUI/NSF, Sophia DagnelloFrom CU Boulder Today: Scientists at CU Boulder have laid out a roadmap for a decade of scientific research at the moon.

Teams from the university will participate in four upcoming or proposed space missions that seek to use the moon as a unique laboratory for peering back to the dawn of the cosmos—collecting unprecedented data on an epoch in the life of the universe before the first stars formed.

The first of these efforts will deploy an instrument called Radiowave Observations at the Lunar Surface of the photoElectron Sheath (ROLSES). It’s slated to land on the moon in just over a year. Another involves a proposed satellite known as the Dark Ages Polarimetry Pathfinder (DAPPER). It could be in orbit around the Moon by the decade’s midway mark.

“It’s a completely unexplored part of the early universe, which we call the Dark Ages,” said Jack Burns, a professor in the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences at CU Boulder. “We have no data from this period and no prospect of getting any data using traditional telescopes like the Hubble Space Telescope.”

Burns described the four missions during a virtual talk this month at the annual meeting of Lunar Exploration Advisory Group (LEAG), a scientific advisory body for NASA. 

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, who also attended the meeting, shared in the excitement. Read more…