Radio Telescopes On Moon's Farside

The Lunar Array for Radio Cosmology (LARC) is a proposed plant to build an array of radio telescopes on the far side of the moon. The intent: to study the earliest formation of the basic structures of the universe.


(Prof. Jacqueline Hewitt with radio telescope prototype)

The MIT team was selected by NASA. Professor Jacqueline, professor of physics and director of MIT's Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Science, leads a team of researchers from MIT and other institutions. LARC is planned as a huge array of hundreds of telescope modules designed to pick up very-low-frequency radio emissions. The array will cover an area of up to two square kilometers; the modules would be moved into place on the lunar surface by automated vehicles.

LARC will make possible observations that cannot be made from Earth's surface. The Earth's ionosphere, high-altitude layer of electrically charged gas, obscures faint, low-frequency radio emissions. The other source of interference is, well, us. More specifically, our many emissions in the radio spectrum.

The far side of the Moon is perfect, because the Moon's bulk would protect delicate detectors from all those terrestrial radio transmissions.

The proposed array would cover about two square kilometers; the module-based telescopes would be moved into place by automated vehicles.

Early sf fans may recall the liquid mirror telescope proposed for the surface of Mars in Raymond Z. Gallun's classic 1934 novella Old Faithful.

From MIT to lead development of new telescopes on moon.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/18/2008)

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