21st Century Astronomical Observatories on the Moon

by Jack O. Burns, Univ of New Mexico, United States,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Engineering, Construction, and Operations in Space

Abstract: The advantages and disadvantages of building astronomical observatories on the Moon are described. In many ways, the Moon is a superior environment for astronomy to that of the Earth's surface and in Earth orbit. However, there are technological difficulties such as remote deployment of instruments on the lunar far-side, thermal strains, and the hazards of cosmic radiation that must be overcome. With this in mind, I describe several modest facilities that could be placed near an early lunar base such as a 1-m optical telescope and a gamma-ray burst detector. I also discuss several more elaborate observatories such as a lunar far-side very low frequency array, an optical interferometer, and a Moon-Earth ultralong baseline radio interferometer.

Subject Headings: Moon | Space colonies | Measuring instruments | Orbits | Thermal loads | Strain | Radiation

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