science

Space radar on Earth sees Apollo 15 landing site on the moon’s surface

Space radar on Earth sees Apollo 15 landing site on the moon's surface

In July 1971, Apollo 15 took off from Earth as the ninth manned mission to the Moon. It landed there, in the Hadley Reel area, and became the first human expedition to another world using automated transportation: the famous Lunar Module.

The moon is the closest object in space to Earth, and it has been the target of intensive study since humans realized it was an astronomical body. But seeing its surface as a radar-generated image is not something that happens every day.

Back in November 2020, the National Science Foundation (GBO) Green Bank Observatory used the Green Bank Telescope (GBT) in West Virginia to do just that. Used Apollo 15 The landing site as a target, and when everything is done, restore the image you see as the main photo for this piece.

The achievement was announced by the GBO at the end of January, with some details on how it all happened.

According to the organization, it has worked alongside the National Radio Astronomical Observatory (NRAO) and Raytheon Intelligence & Space. The latter was responsible for providing a new transmitter capable of sending a powerful radar signal into space.

Although the test was astonishing in the result, it was only a proof of concept, as the moon is not the main target of technology. Instead, it is likely that the NRAO and the GBO will use it when a more powerful transmitter is operating at full capacity to increase the ability to detect small objects passing through the Earth.

The plan is to have 500-kilowatt The radar system is able to see these objects in fine detail, but is also able to send its signals to the orbits of Uranus and Neptune to see what is out there.

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“The planned system will be a leap forward in radar science, allowing unprecedented features of the solar system to be accessed from here on Earth,” He said in statement Karen O’Neill, Greenbank Observatory website director.

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