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China wants to create a constellation telescope in orbit around the moon

China wants to create a constellation telescope in orbit around the moon

The far side of the Moon is far from Earth Especially quiet, in relation to radio signals from Earth and elsewhere in the solar system. The Chinese space agency CNSA wants to use this circumstance to listen to satellites particularly far away in space and Detect radio waves, dating back to the dark ages after the Big Bang. Instead of being on the roof they want one A multisegment telescope in orbit around the Moon place.

Eight daughters, one mother

the Hongmeng Enterprise It envisions a total of nine satellites, as CNSA astronomer Xuelei Chen recently revealed at the Astronomy from the Moon conference. Eight “daughter” satellites are designed to pick up radio signals and send them to a ninth “mother” satellite, which collects and transmits them back to Earth.

“There are a lot of advantages to doing this in lunar orbit instead of the surfaceBecause he Technically easier It will Chen quoted from Space.com. “You don’t need to land and set up anything. The orbital period is two hours. That makes using solar energy much easier. If you want to work on the surface during the lunar night, you have to store electricity for about 14 days.”

“The last electromagnetic window”

Satellites are designed to transmit short wavelength radio waves 10 meters or more Capture frequencies below 30MHz. this wavelength range Very little research so far, due to the absorption of waves by the Earth’s atmosphere. “It’s an almost empty part of the electromagnetic spectrum, so we want to open this last electromagnetic window into the universe,” Chen says.

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Besides the hint of opaque hydrogen haze in the dark age, there are other things revealed by the Hongmeng project, such as The magnetosphere of the outer planets. “If we open a new window, maybe we will Some interesting stuff Find out,” Qin is convinced.

Read more: A telescope must gather in space and photograph exoplanets

construction by 2026

With microsatellites, China wanted to get a foretaste of what Hongmeng telescopes should be able to achieve Longjiang 1 And Longjiang 2 Displays. They were on the plane Chang’e mission 4 to the moon. However, Longijiang 1 failed to enter lunar orbit.

Longijang 2 orbited the Moon for a while and CNSA showed through its observations that the far side of the Moon had one The perfect place for this kind of observation Represent. Until 2026 Hongmeng project will be implemented.