A few years from now, a small radio telescope on the far side of the moon could help scientists look into the ancient past of the universe.
the moon The instrument, called the Lunar Surface Electromagnetics Experiment (LuSEE-Night), is a detection instrument developed by the US Department of Energy’s Brookhaven and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories, the Space Science Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, and the NASA science mission. Directorate.
LuSEE-Night is currently scheduled to be launched on a special robotic lander on the lunar surface In late 2025 (Opens in a new tab). after you touch far side of the moonwill attempt to collect first-of-its-kind measurements from the “dark ages” of the universe.
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The Dark Ages refer to a time in the early universe, between 400,000 and 400 million years after the Big Bang, before stars And galaxies have begun to fully form. From the far side of the Moon, LuSEE-Night will use onboard antennas, radio receivers and a spectrophotometer to measure faint radio waves from Dark Agesin search of what scientists call the Dark Ages signal.
“So far, we can only make predictions about the early stages of the universe using a criterion called Cosmic microwave background. The Dark Ages signal will provide a new benchmark,” says Brookhaven physicist Anže Slosar he said in a statement (Opens in a new tab). “And if the predictions based on each criterion don’t match, that means we’ve discovered a new physics.”
LuSEE-Night isn’t necessarily expected to make major breakthroughs on its own; After all, it’s an Explorer designed to pave the way for more ambitious gadgets down the road. The larger project may end up shedding light on big cosmic questions such as the nature of dark energy And the universe was created, team members said.
The far side of the Moon is a great place to look for faint signals that could hold such clues, because it offers something Earth can’t: a deep, deep silence. The constant radio bombardment across our planet creates an environment that is too noisy for the ultra-sensitive instruments that LuSEE-Night will use. However, the remote area also presents challenges.
To survive there required an engineering feat. Although it’s sometimes called the “dark side” of the moon, the part of Earth’s natural satellite that faces away from us in the night sky actually has a day/night cycle, each phase of which lasts about 14 Earth days. Temperatures on the far side of the moon fluctuate between 250 and 280 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 121 degrees Celsius).
So the LuSEE-Night must be designed to withstand two weeks of fiercely unforgiving lunar sunlight, as well as staying powered through two weeks of pitch-black darkness — and doing it again and again. The design life of the lunar mission is two years.
“In addition to the great potential scientific yield, demonstration of the LuSEE-Night stay-at-home technology is critical to conducting long-term, high-priority science investigations from the lunar surface,” said Joel Cairns, NASA Associate Deputy Administrator for Exploration for Science. Mission Directorate said in the same statement.
When ready, LuSEE-Night will launch the Future Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) mission, a NASA initiative that, according to the space agency’s website, “enables the rapid acquisition of lunar delivery services from U.S. companies for payloads that enhance science or exploration capabilities.” or the commercial development of the moon.”
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