Soon, telescope to look at cosmos from the Moon

A telescope could soon be able to make celestial observations from the surface of moon for the first time, a new study has revealed.

Last Updated: Dec 20, 2011, 20:48 PM IST

Washington: A telescope could soon be able to make celestial observations from the surface of moon for the first time, a new study has revealed.

Moon Express, a contender for the 30 million dollars Google Lunar X Prize, plans to put a small remotely operated telescope on the surface of the moon.

“We don’t expect to be changing the annals of astronomy with this instrument. We intend to be changing people’s minds,” Discovery News quoted Moon Express founder and chief executive Bob Richards as saying.

The two-pilot, six-passenger SpaceShipTwo, owned by Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, will be making its first test flight beyond the atmosphere in 2012. Nearly 500 people have already made reservations for the 200,000 dollars ride.

The objective of Google Lunar X Prize is to promote commercial development on the moon.

“The Google Lunar X Prize is an important part, but we established Moon Express to provide entrepreneurship on the moon,” Richards said.

“The X Prizes consider themselves successful only if they lead to whole new industries.”

Apart from meeting the criteria to clinch the prize, Moon Express also seeks to fly other cargo on its first trip to the moon, including a small telescope owned by the International Lunar Observatory Association that will be controlled by scientists and the general public on Earth.

“When you’ve reached a new shore, reached the top of a new mountain, the first thing you do is look around. This is a way for people to look out and see Earth from the surface of the moon.”

The shoe-box sized telescope will also be used to look out at the Milky Way galaxy from the perspective of the moon.

“People barely look up these days, at the stars that surround us. They are more focused on square screens rather than the magnificence of the cosmos in which we live. We want to reach out in an emotional way to humanity about the importance of the moon,” Richard added.

ANI