Platform to Study the Universe

Many little impact craters litter the far side of the moon. In the upper left quadrant lies a darker crater that contrasts a lot of the light grey color surrounding it. It is a stand alone dark grey crater encircled by many smaller lighter craters. In the southern part of the far side of the moon, almost a quarter of it, has a darker splotch that has smaller impact craters layered on top.
The far side of the lunar surface is captured here like never before. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) Wide Angle Camera (WAC) captured this mosaic in monochrome mode. This pieced together photo was the first of its kind as a resource to the scientific community. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University.
NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

The Moon also serves as a platform for understanding the rest of the Universe. The lack of an atmosphere allows the full electromagnetic spectrum to be visible from the lunar surface. The far side of the Moon is the only known place in the Solar System permanently shielded from Earth’s radio noise, meaning this is an ideal place to perform radio astronomy, which can enable astrophysicists to investigate a period of time known as the Dark Ages, an epoch shortly after the Big Bang when stars and galaxies had not yet formed in the expanding Universe.

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