We’ve seen some super-detailed photos of different celestial objects taken from space. But now, we have the highest-resolution photos of the Moon ever captured from Earth. And what is particularly interesting, taking them required a transmitter less powerful than a microwave.
A team of scientists has captured and engineers used the National Science Foundation’s Green Bank Telescope (GBT) and Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) to capture these radar images of the Moon. They are not only awe-inspiring and great to see, but they are seriously groundbreaking, paving the way for future study of celestial objects in the entire Solar System.
In the announcement, Green Bank Observatory explains how the radar system was built and used. I have to admit that it’s not really my area, but I enjoyed reading about the implications and possible uses of the technology. Other than taking cool Moon photos, this system will be used in planetary defense, to “detect, track, and characterize potentially hazardous objects that may be on a crash course with Earth.”
“In our tests, we were able to zero in on an asteroid 2.1 million kilometers away from us—more than 5 times the distance from the Earth to the Moon. The asteroid is about a kilometer in size, which is large enough to cause global devastation should there be an impact,” explains Patrick Taylor, radar division head for GBO and NRAO. “With the high-power system, we could study more objects much further away. When it comes to developing strategies for possible impacts, having more warning time is everything.”
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