Monday, July 22, 2024

China will launch a lunar telescope in 2026


This representative image shows the lunar surface. Unsplash / file

Just when people thought there were enough satellites in space, China announced its plans to launch a constellation of satellites orbiting the moon in a bid to explore the early days of the universe as early as 2026.

according to Space.comone “mother” satellite and eight small “daughter” aircraft will make up the array.

According to Xuelei Chen, an astronomer with the China National Space Administration (CNSA), at the Astronomy from the Moon conference held earlier this year in London, the mother will process information and communicate with the Earth, and the daughters will detect radio signals from the farthest reaches of space. .

Technically, it would be better to place such an array in lunar orbit than to erect a telescope on the lunar surface, which NASA and other space agencies see as one of the next big steps in astronomy.

“There are a number of advantages to doing this in orbit rather than on the surface because it’s much simpler from an engineering standpoint,” Chen said during the conference.

He added that solar energy can be used to observe the lunar night since the orbital period of the moon is two hours, which makes it easier than providing energy for 14 days on the lunar surface.

“There is no need to land and spread out, and also because the moon’s orbital period is two hours, we can use solar energy, which is much simpler than doing it on the moon, which, if you want to observe during the moon at night, then you have to supply power for about 14 days.”

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He also said that this proposed “detecting the sky with the longest wavelength wave”, or the Hongmeng project, could be ready by 2026.

Astronomers are interested in the low-frequency part of the electromagnetic spectrum, which is impossible to study from the Earth’s surface due to strong absorption by the Earth’s atmosphere.

They believe this radiation could allow them to peer into the dark ages, when the universe was full of hydrogen atoms and their light could not make it through, with the help of a lunar telescope.