Scientists have unearthed an incredibly detailed image of the lunar surface showing objects as small as five meters in diameter, captured with reflected radar signals.
The image, released by the US National Radio Astronomy Observatory, shows the landing site of NASA’s Apollo 15 mission in 1971 and surrounding grooves and jagged pits.
To get the image, the researchers used satellites, which shot a powerful radar signal toward the moon, which was then reflected over a system of 10 radio telescopes in North America called the Very Long Baseline Array is.
The end result marks a successful preliminary test of a highly complex radio telescope system.
Now, scientists want to develop it further to capture more detailed images in our solar system, including the surfaces of Neptune and Uranus.
New radar image of Apollo 15 landing site in relation to key lunar features. Apollo 15 landed in Hadley-Epinen, an area near the moon, on 30 July 1971
Karen O’Neill, site director of the Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia, said, “The planned system will be a leap forward in radar science, allowing access to never-before-seen features of the solar system on Earth.”
The project combines the efforts of the National Bank Foundation’s Green Bank Observatory (GBO), the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) and Raytheon Intelligence and Space.
GBO’s Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia – the world’s largest fully operable radio telescope – was designed with a new transmitter developed by Rayton Intelligence and Space, which allows it to transmit radar signals into space .
NRAO’s continent-wide Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) was once indicated to be reflected from the lunar surface and produced the image.
The image was captured in November last year, but has only been released by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.
The GBT-VLBA radar is an image of the region where Apollo 15 landed in 1971. A snake-like feature is the Hadley Reale, remnants of ancient volcanic activity, perhaps a collapsed lava tube
Apollo 15 – NASA, 1971. Apollo 15 astronaut James Irwin used a scoop to dig into lunar soil in front of Mount Headley, 1971.
Apollo 15 commander Dave Scott Headley-Epinen salutes the American flag at the lunar landing site. Lunar module ‘Falcon’ partially visible on the right, in 1971
The new image shows the Apollo 15 landing site right next to a snake-like indentation called Hadley Reale, a remnant of ancient volcanic activity, possibly a collapsed lava tube.
The crater at the top, with reels called the Hadley Sea and is about 3.7 miles (6 kilometers) in diameter.
Apollo 15 landed in Hadley-Epinen, an area near the lunar surface, on 30 July 1971.
It was the ninth crew mission in NASA’s Apollo program and the fourth to land on the moon.
Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia, the world’s largest fully operable radio telescope. This telescope is being equipped with a new planetary radar transmitter for studying objects in the solar system.
Antenna location of continent-wide very long baseline array. These antennas act as receiving sites for reflected radar signals from the Green Bank Telescope.
Using the information gathered with this latest test, scientists will finalize plans to develop a 500-kW, high-power radar system that can image objects in the solar system ‘with unprecedented detail and sensitivity’.
This will allow astronomers to use distant radar signals as the orbits of Uranus and Neptune – the two outermost planets in our solar system, live approximately 1.6 billion and 2.7 billion miles from our home planet, respectively.
The NRAO said in a statement, “Testing the proof-of-concept of a two-year effort paves the way for designing a more powerful transmitter for binoculars.”
‘More power will allow the detection and imaging of small objects passing near the Earth, orbiting around other planets and other debris in the Solar System.’
What was the Apollo program?
A NASA photo taken on July 16, 1969 shows Pad A, the launch complex 39. The massive, 363-foot-tall Apollo 11 Spacecraft 107 / Lunar Module S / Saturn 506) at 9:32 from Kennedy Space Center (KSC). is am (EDT).
Apollo was NASA’s program that launched in 1961 and the first man to the moon came eight years later.
The first four flights tested equipment for the Apollo program and six of the other seven flights managed to land on the moon.
The first manned mission to the moon was Apollo 8 which revolved around it on Christmas Eve in 1968 but did not land.
The Apollo 9 crew spent ten days orbiting the Earth and completed the first manned flight of the lunar module – the segment of the Apollo rocket that would later land Neil Armstrong on the Moon.
The Apollo 11 mission was the first mission to land on the moon on 20 July 1969.
The capsule landed in a sea of tranquility, carrying mission commander Neil Armstrong and pilot Buzz Aldrin.
Armstrong and Aldrin moved to the lunar surface while Michael Collins remained in orbit around the moon.
When Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon, he said, ‘This is (a) a small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.’
On November 19 that year, Apollo 12 landed in the ocean of storms, NASA writes.
Apollo 13 was the third mission to land on the moon, but within 56 hours of flight, an oxygen tank explosion forced the crew to cancel the lunar landing and return to Earth in the lunar module of Aquarius.
Apollo 15 was the ninth manned lunar mission in the Apollo space program, and was considered the most successful manned space flight at the time because of its longer duration and greater emphasis on scientific exploration than previous missions.
The last Apollo moon landing occurred in 1972 when a total of 12 astronauts touched the lunar surface.
Astronaut Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin carried out the experiments from the lunar module on the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission. Photo by Neil Armstrong, 20 July 1969