Telescope on Moon’s South Pole Will Give Unprecedented Views of our Galaxy
Two private companies have announced plans to launch the first-ever journey to the moon’s South Pole where they plan to place a telescope in order to view our galaxy with unprecedented clarity. The telescope would be placed on top of a lunar peak where it would have a clear view of the Milky Way, unobstructed by the interference of our atmosphere, pollution and electromagnetic noise.
Astronomers have long proposed the idea of placing a telescope on the far side of the moon which faces away from our planet as this would be the prime position for capturing images far beyond what could be captured on Earth. However, those plans have been stifled by cost as such a telescope would need to be controlled by satellite rays.
However, the organisations behind the plan, which include the International Lunar Observatory Association (ILOA), a non-profit aiming to build a scientific and commercial base on the moon, and startup company, Moon Express, have stated that placing a telescope at the South Pole is much more achievable as it has “a direct line of access to Earth”. It also has fairly stable temperatures and conditions, unlike other parts of the Moon. ILOA hopes to be able to launch the telescope as early as 2016, though Moon Express believes 2018 is more realistic.
But the ILOA and Moon Express have big plans and are not content to settle with just a telescope. They also believe the lunar poles hold possibility for eventual human settlement and the two organisations plan to do exploration at the lunar pole to extract minerals, metals and water, and to investigate the surrounding area with the hope that such valuable information could lead to future plans for a lunar base.