NASA wants to put a telescope on the moon, here’s why
Nov 10, 2023, 8:00 PM
(Isaiah J. Downing/ USA Today Sports /Reuters via CNN)
NASA doesn’t want to build the telescope on Earth or shoot it out on a satellite. Instead, it wants to build it on the far side of the moon.
BYU Physics and Astronomy Associate Professor Denise Stephens said a lunar telescope is better than telescopes on the ground for at least one reason.
“[The] moon has no atmosphere,” she said. “So, it doesn’t have those gasses to absorb those wavelengths of light.”
But what makes the moon better than a satellite? Stephens said putting the telescope inside a lunar crater means more protection from the sun’s heat and space debris and makes it easier to make repairs.
Additionally, lunar gravity means it can be four times bigger than the JWST. That means better pictures.
It’s one thing to have the JWST out there snagging pictures of baby galaxies but with exposure to the sun, the satellite’s lens gets too hot and loses picture quality. A larger lens means clearer pictures of some of the earliest stars, galaxies, and nebulae in the universe.
Putting the telescope on the moon helps keep the entire lens cool, and makes it easier to conduct repairs.