Published: July 28, 2021 By

 VLADIMIR VUSTYANSKYFrom Forbes: Let’s do astronomy from the Moon. Spurred on by the collapse of the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico, the continuing degradation of the night sky by light pollution and the coming era of mega-constellations of satellites come four projects that seek to take astronomy to the Moon’s far side. 

Lunar astronomy is an idea that’s been around since the 1960s, but new engineering and technology is at last making astronomy on the Moon a real possibility.

Why bother? About 240,000 miles/380,000 kilometers from Earth, observations can be made of low frequency radio in radio-quiet conditions and also in ultraviolet light—something blocked by Earth’s atmosphere—that could help reveal the unexplored early cosmos. And since it takes the Moon 27 days to orbit Earth, a telescope would be in darkness for half the month and able to observe the same object for almost two weeks at a time. 

Astronomy has been done before both by Apollo astronauts and, since 2013, by China’s Chang-e rovers. Should NASA now commit to building the next big space observatory on the lunar surface? Read more...