NASA has announced its plans to return to the moon and has detailed four scientific projects that have been selected that will help NASA develop the opportunities for studying astrophysics in a way that could never be done on Earth.
The projects they are looking at would test Einstein’s General Theory of Evolution. Another project involved instruments designed to study the early evolution of the Universe as well as study solar winds, which are charged particles that produce X Rays. The instruments are also capable of studying the interior structure of the moon and then use that information to study the relationship between the Earth and the Moon.
NASA has said that the moon is going to play as very important and prominent part in the future of space exploration and these studies will greatly expand our knowledge of the Moon and the Earth and beyond that to the whole universe.
They have outlined the particulars of the projects, for instance, in two of the studies, small instruments, just about the size of an average suitcase, will be placed at different points on the moon. The placement of the instruments will enable scientists to measure the distance from the Earth to the Moon more precisely than it has ever been possible in the past, down to the submillimeter level. They will also be able to test the law of relativity and lead to a better understanding of the relationship between the Earth and the Moon.
These two projects are “A Lunar Laser Ranging Array for the 21st Century” developed Douglas Currie of the University of Maryland at College Park. And “Precision Lunar Laser Ranging” developed by Stephen Merkowitz of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
The third study involves placing a small array of radio telescopes on the moon for the purposed of studying particle acceleration in such objects like supernovae, quasars and the solar corona. The success of this project will lead to the possibility of the use of radio telescopes in the future to measure growth in the early universe. This study is titled “Radio Observatory for Lunar Sortie Science” and was developed by Joseph Lazio from the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington.
The fourth and last of the present proposals is a project that will be the one used to measure the X rays from the solar winds. It will also look at the interactions of the X rays with the Earth’s magnetosphere. In addition it will improve the future measurement of low energy X rays emitting not from the moon, but from the galaxy as a whole. This project is titled “Lunar-Based Soft X-ray Science” was developed by Michael Collier and is the study from Goddard.
There has been speculation for years on just when, and if, NASA was planing to return to the moon. We now know the if, we just need to determine the when.
source NASA http://www.nasa.gov/