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Astronomy from the Moon with ILOA Missions: Utilizing Luna for its Exosphere, and as a Shield, Platform, Access Point

Presentation #431.04 in the session The Sun and Solar System III.

Published onJun 29, 2022
Astronomy from the Moon with ILOA Missions: Utilizing Luna for its Exosphere, and as a Shield, Platform, Access Point

International Lunar Observatory Association (ILOA) 5 Moon missions, including ILO-X precursor for Milky Way Galaxy First Light Imaging launching in 2022 on Intuitive Machines IM-1, are working to advance 21st Century astrophysics and observations which are only feasible by taking advantage of the Moon’s thin exosphere, radio quiet farside, stable and large platform, low gravity, extractable volatiles for ISRU, line-of-sight communication with Earth, polar crater ”permanent darkness’ areas, and near-term human settlement allowing for calibration and service.

Long-duration, high-resolution observation of Earth for meteorology, magnetosphere and rotation can produce highly valuable and precise data across a wide spectrum of interests and applications including solar weather to navigation accuracy, to commerce, aerospace, defense, as well as astrophysics and precession.

Various Moon locations allow for unique UV, radio, infrared, long duration, optical, gamma ray, x-ray observations, and collaborations with VLBI and Event Horizon Telescope networks. With global placement of telescopes / observatories on the Moon, virtually the whole Universe will be open to continuous observation using the Moon for a local interferometry grid.

AFTM is ongoing with China Low Frequency Radio Spectrometer onboard the 2019 Chang'e-4 Mission on the lunar farside, while data from 2013 Chang’e-3 Lunar-based Ultraviolet Telescope continues to be analyzed and utilized. Imagined since at least 1634 (Somnium, J. Kepler), majorly advanced during 1960-1990s (D. Schrunk, B. Cooper 1999), and first conducted by John Young during Apollo 16, utilizing Far Ultraviolet Camera/Spectrograph (built by G. Carruthers), the new frontier of Astronomy from the Moon is set to become a more frequent reality with 7 slated international landings this year: IM-1 includes ILO-X narrow and wide field-of-view instruments, and Radio wave Observations at the Lunar Surface of the photoElectron Sheath (ROLSES); Astrobotic Peregrine-1; India Chandrayaan-3; Russia Luna-25; Japan ispace lander; JAXA Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM); and possibly IM-2.

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