A radio telescope on the far side of the moon is expected to help scientists understand the universe’s ancient past. According to Space.com, the moon instrument is called the Lunar Surface Electromagnetics Experiment-Night (LuSEE-Night). The instrument is a pathfinder which is being developed by the US Department of Energy's Brookhaven along with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories, the Space Science Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, and NASA's Science Mission Directorate. The highly anticipated object is scheduled to launch on a private robotic lunar lander in late 2025.
According to Space.com, after the lunar object touched down on the far side of the Earth's only natural satellite, it will attempt to gather the measurements and more information about the “Dark Ages” of the universe. The Dark Ages refers to a time in the early universe between 400,000 and 400 million years after the Big Bang. The Dark Ages lies in the time before the stars and galaxies began to fully form. LuSEE-Night will use onboard antennas, radio receivers, and a spectrometer to measure the radio waves from the Dark Ages. Scientists are calling the waves Dark Ages Signal.
According to Space.com, while the path-finder is not necessarily expected to make a major breakthrough by itself, the instrument is expected to pave the way for more ambitious instruments in the future. "So far, we can only make predictions about earlier stages of the universe using a benchmark called the cosmic microwave background. The Dark Ages Signal would provide a new benchmark," Brookhaven physicist Anže Slosar said. "And if predictions based on each benchmark don't match, that means we've discovered new physics,” Slosar added.
The scientists believe that LuSEE-Night will have to be designed to withstand two weeks of the intense and non-stop lunar day along with two weeks of rigidly cold darkness when it is away from the Sun. According to Space.com, the lifetime of the whole mission on the lunar surface is expected to be two years. "In addition to the significant potential science return, demonstration of the LuSEE-Night lunar night survival technology is critical to performing long-term, high-priority science investigations from the lunar surface," Joel Kearns, deputy associate administrator for exploration in NASA's Science Mission Directorate asserted.