A prototype of a new instrument at the Green Bank Radio Telescope was able to show in incredible detail one of the known craters of the moon.
Scientists have created a prototype of a new radar system, which is installed on the Green Bank radio telescope, which is located in the United States. This prototype radar was able to photograph Tycho crater, which is located in the southern hemisphere of the Moon and has a diameter of 85 km, with a resolution of 5 meters, thanks to which scientists received an incredibly detailed image of the crater floor, writes ScienceAlert .
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Now scientists can get stunning images of the moon using orbiters as well as ground-based telescopes. But it is extremely difficult to obtain close-up images of the Moon’s surface from the Earth, given the huge distance to the satellite, which is approximately 385,000 km. The more scientists try to magnify the moon’s surface, the more these images become blurry and fuzzy. This applies specifically to ground-based telescopes, and scientists have long tried to solve this problem in order not to rely on images of orbiters that orbit the moon.
To get very high-resolution images of our satellite’s surface from Earth, scientists at the US National Radio Astronomy Observatory created a prototype of a new radar that was installed on one of the world’s most powerful radio telescopes, the Green Bank. Scientists believe that the full-fledged device will be the most powerful next-generation planetary radar system that can be used to study planets, satellites and asteroids within the solar system.
The prototype radar consists of a transmitter that sends a signal to the surface of the moon, and the reflected signal is received by 10 25-meter antennas of another radio telescope called VLBA, also in the United States. The most interesting thing is that the power of this transmitter is only 700 watts, which is less than even a microwave.
Thanks to the prototype of the new device, scientists have received an incredibly detailed image with a 5-meter resolution of one of the most famous lunar craters – Tycho crater. It is located in the southern hemisphere of the visible side of the Moon and has a diameter of approximately 85 km.
According to Patrick Taylor of the US National Radio Astronomy Observatory, the most amazing thing is that scientists have been able to get stunning images of the moon’s surface using less power than conventional household appliances.
Taylor says the new images of the Moon have been taken at the highest resolution ever seen from Earth. Thanks to the images, scientists were able to see all the features of the bottom of the Tycho crater, which means that the geology of the moon, thanks to the new device, can be studied from our planet. In addition to the image of the crater, scientists also obtained images of the landing site of the Apollo 15 mission with an amazing resolution of 1.25 meters.
To understand the importance of this achievement, it is worth recalling that the camera of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft, which revolves around the Moon, takes pictures of the satellite’s surface with a resolution of 0.5 meters. That is, the prototype of the new instrument at the Green Bank radio telescope was able to obtain almost the same image quality. But it is located almost four hundred thousand kilometers from the moon, while the spacecraft is very close to it.
By the way, the prototype of the new radar, even before taking pictures of the Moon, was able to detect a new, potentially dangerous asteroid, which was named 2001 FO32. It has a diameter of 1 km and can fly past the Earth at a distance of 2 million km. As Focus already wrote , on February 13, 2023, a small asteroid with a diameter of 1 meter fell to Earth.
Now scientists are creating a full-fledged radar for a radio telescope, the power of which will already be 500 kW, which is almost 1000 times more than the prototype.
Focus has already written that a new spacecraft, which belongs to South Korea, showed what the far side of the moon looks like .
Some scientists propose to use the resources of the Moon in order to overcome the climate crisis on Earth. How this can happen, Focus has already written in detail .