NASA has a far-out proposal—on the Moon, to be exact. Scientists plan to embed a giant telescope on the lunar surface, cradled in an existing crater. They say the Moon’s celestial craters seem ready-made for such a device.
The idea came from Saptarshi Bandyopadhyay. He is a robotics technologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He calls his concept the Lunar Crater Radio Telescope (LCRT). The lab’s goal is to place a 3,281-foot radio telescope (an instrument that detects radio emissions from astronomical objects) inside a crater on the Moon’s dark side.
The Moon’s “dark side” is the side always facing away from Earth. It’s not lacking sunlight. In this case, the dark in “dark side” means “not seen” instead of “without light.” A telescope on the dark or far side could offer an uncommon peep into what’s happening in other parts of the galaxy.
What’s so special about the far side? Earth’s atmosphere reflects certain radio wavelengths. That keeps those wavelengths from reaching Earth-bound telescopes. But a dark-side lunar telescope could allow scientists to study wavelengths that have “not been explored by humans,” Bandyopadhyay claims.
The telescope would also avoid interference from Earth’s human-made radio waves, satellites whizzing around, and the swooshing of the Sun’s ever-churning sunspots. Without all that space noise, researchers hope to use LCRT for observing the universe in detail. Some even wonder if the telescope could allow scientists to look back in time to detect faint “fingerprints” of past events.
Christians don’t need anyone to explain Earth’s origins. They’ve already got the firsthand inside scoop in Genesis. Any fingerprints belong to the Creator-God, for the universe, including planets and the stars, were made by Him! (Psalm 8:3-4)
According to NASA, the LCRT would be the largest radio telescope ever. It would use a single giant dish for data collection instead of many smaller dishes. A receiver hanging in the telescope’s center would hopefully pick up radio frequencies from the cosmos.
LCRT plans involve NASA’s DuAxel Rovers, or wall-climbing robots. The bots will lay a half-mile-wide wire mesh telescope across a two- to three-mile-wide crater. And since radio telescope dishes must be curved in order to capture outer-space soundwaves, a crater makes an ideal locale.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the Moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? — Psalm 8:3-4