Astronomers to propose putting ‘Ultimately Large Telescope’ on the moon
Some astronomers are advocating the construction of an “Ultimately Large Telescope” on the moon to further research about the Big Bang.
The ideas is to set up a telescope that would allow scientists to view and analyze the oldest stars in the universe, specifically the ones that formed after the Big Bang over 13.7 billion years ago, USA Today reported.
University of Texas astronomer Anna Schauer nicknamed the proposed telescope the “Ultimately Large Telescope,” adding that it would have a liquid mirror over 300 feet in diameter.
“The telescope would be able to observe the first stars that formed after the Big Bang, out of material made in the Big Bang,” Schauer told USA Today.
She added that no existing telescope could view that far back to the early years of the universe’s formation, not even NASA’s forthcoming James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which is said to help astronomers “look much closer to the beginning of time,” according to NASA.
The proposed moon telescope would use a liquid mirror to lighten the load to transport materials to the moon.
Schauer described the mirror as a spinning vat of liquid topped by an additional metallic-reflective liquid.
“In order to observe stars that far away and that early in the universe, we need to get out of the Earth’s atmosphere, because it is blocking the light in the wavelengths we would need to see,” said Schauer.
Schauer said the telescope would be located inside a crater at the moon’s north and south pole, though she noted the science and ability for humankind to create the structure “could be decades away.”
University of Texas astronomer Volker Bromm said in a statement the moon telescope could give some answers to the complexity of the universe and some glimmers of answers about the conditions that brought about intelligent life on Earth.
“The emergence of the first stars marks a crucial transition in the history of the universe, when the primordial conditions set by the Big Bang gave way to an ever-increasing cosmic complexity, eventually bringing life to planets, life, and intelligent beings like us,” said Bromm.
The idea was previously proposed to NASA in 2008 by a team of astronomers and researchers from the University of Arizona but was ultimately struck down by the agency.