The international scientific community has long discussed the need to maintain this aspect of moon free from man-made radio frequency interference.
Doing so could make possible observations of the unexplored early epochs of The universe Scientists say the so-called dark ages and cosmic dawns.
The far away moon always face away from the Earth. It is therefore “radio-quiet”, shielded by the moon itself from radio frequency interference (RFI) pumped out by powerful transmitters on Earth.
Furthermore, the moon also lacks a significant ionosphere, while the Earth’s ionosphere absorbs and refracts cosmic radio sources. In addition, the lunar environment is dry and stable, resulting in more stable and super-sensitive radio observations – like picking your ears to listen for voices from the moon. alien civilization.
A newly formed group called the Permanent Committee to Protect the Moon, part of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA), has begun to frame problems and solutions to guard against corruption. corruption of the RFI on the far side of the Moon.
The new committee is chaired by Claudio Maccone, an Italian astronomer, space scientist and SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) mathematician.
Maccone assisted in the creation of a Protected Antipode Circle or PAC, a large circular piece of lunar landscape approximately 1,130 miles (1,820 km) wide that would become the most shielded area on the far side of the moon.
“PACs do not overlap with other areas of interest in human activity,” he said. “PAC is the only region of the far side that will never be reached by radiation emitted from future space bases located at L4 and L5. Lagrangian point of the Earth-Moon system. “
In view of these unique features, Maccone believes that the PAC should be officially recognized by the United Nations as an internationally protected area where anthropogenic radio pollution, both now and in the future, should be limited. future.
Blinder and Blinder
Maccone has entered the far center of the moon, namely Daedalus Crater, as a perfect location to establish a future. radio telescope, or phased arrays, to detect all kinds of radio waves undetectable on Earth due to the ever-evolving RFI. Daedalus has a high rim, which is ideal for blocking radiation that could come from other locations in the distance, he said.
“The far side of the moon is a place unique to us in the entire universe. It is close to The earth but being protected from the radio junk that we ourselves are generating in increasing amounts is making our radio telescopes hazy and hazy,” Maccone said. Can’t leave the far side in the hands of brokers! There should be some agreement for the benefit of all mankind. ”
The new IAA committee has attracted interest around the world. For example, Maccone told Space.com that some Chinese academics had advised him that they wanted to join the committee and contribute.
Window to the universe
Jack Burns co-chairs the new committee. He is a professor of astrophysics at the University of Colorado, Boulder, who is helping to define new NASA missions to the moon, including potential low-frequency astrophysics projects that could be set up at far side of the moon.
“We need to start taking radio pollution seriously on the moon,” says Burns. “The far side of the moon is the only truly radio-quiet region in the inner solar system.”
Radio telescopes and antenna arrays on the far side would open a window into the universe at frequencies below 50 megahertz, Burns said. It is a range of wavelengths inaccessible from Earth both because of the RFI and because the Earth’s ionosphere refracts, reflects, and absorbs radio waves at these frequencies.
Radio telescopes and commercial development of the moon can coexist, Burns said.
“Most radio pollution at these frequencies is caused by leaks in power supplies, computers and other electronic devices,” he said. “Communication is at much higher frequencies and there are less problems if they are within the allocated frequency range. Electronic devices can be protected simply by placing them inside a Faraday cage – a wire fence. steel – to reduce radio leaks. We just need to plan ahead. That’s what our IAA team is looking to do.”
Several new ideas for how to take advantage of the moon’s special qualities have come to the fore.
For example, Houston-based Lunar Resources is leading FarView, an appraisal of a possible lunar radio observatory that has received funding from the Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program ) by NASA.
FarView will study the universe dark age Ronald Polidan, FarView principal investigator and program director at Lunar Resources, said:
FarView would be so sensitive that an observatory located on the moon could easily detect a radio station from The Pluto in about a minute. Polidan thinks it can even detect transmissions from cell phones on Pluto.
All that said, Polidan said researchers are very concerned about the contamination of the moon which is currently pristine and very quiet with signals from lunar-based anthropogenic sources.
“Sadly for us, most electronics will emit in our scientific frequency band unless they are carefully shielded. Our dark age signal is already weaker than the signal. from the galactic foreground, the sun and even Jupiter’s radio emissions, thus adding to the noise from the moon, Polidan said.
If we lose the far side of the Moon to human-caused noise because we don’t think ahead, says Polidan, “it would prevent humanity from observing how the first structures in the universe formed.” for decades.”
Polidan concludes that what is needed now is to establish guidelines for preserving this precious radio quiet spot on Earth’s moon.
Leonard David is the author of “Moon Rush: The New Space Race” (National Geographic, 2019). A longtime Space.com writer, David has been reporting on the space industry for over 5 decades. Follow them on Twitter @Spacedotcom or above Facebook.
https://www.space.com/moon-far-side-radio-quiet-telescope-project The Moon Group promotes the protection of the micro moon