Science & Tech

India is among countries considering telescopes on and around the moon

  • Astronomers are excited to establish a new window on the universe by deploying high-resolution telescopes on the moon and in orbit around it.

Why are astronomers looking forward to opening telescopes on the moon?

  • Radio telescopes deployed into orbit around Earth compounded the problem of receiving radio noise from all around the world, as well as signals from space.
  • The moon’s far side provides pure, airless conditions perfect for optical telescopes, resulting in crystal-clear visibility during the two-week lunar night. 

Global Initiatives to Install Telescope on the Moon:

  • Global initiatives include NASA’s LuSEE Night Project, which aims to install a telescope on the moon. LuSEE Night, a joint NASA-Berkeley Lab project set to launch in December 2025, proposes to investigate the Dark Ages by landing on the moon’s far side while insulated from Earth’s radio frequency disturbance.
  • ESA’s programmes: By 2030, ESA plans to launch a radio telescope to the moon’s far side atop its lunar lander, ‘Argonaut’, as well as other programmes focusing on gravitational wave detection and infrared observations.
  • China’s Initiatives: China is also actively interested in lunar exploration, with plans to launch a moon-orbiting radio telescope in 2026 and to use the Queqiao-2 satellite, which has a radio telescope payload, as a communications relay between Earth and future missions. 

Indian Initiative

  • PRATUSH: Indian scientists intend to put the PRATUSH radio telescope on the moon’s far side, which was created by the Raman Research Institute (RRI) in partnership with the Indian Space Research Organisation. 
  • Deployment Process: ISRO will first place PRATUSH in orbit around Earth, then fine-tune it before launching it to the moon. Operating in Earth orbit will provide benefits such as free space operation and lower ionosphere influence over ground-based investigations.
  • Observational Advantages: PRATUSH in lunar orbit will have optimal observation circumstances, operating in open space with little radio frequency interference (RFI) and no ionosphere, which is critical for investigating the signal from the Dark Ages.
  • PRATUSH will have a wideband frequency-independent antenna, a self-calibrating analogue receiver, and a digital correlator to detect radio noise in the signal from the Dark Ages. 


The global movement to place telescopes on and around the moon seeks to overcome Earth’s radio disturbance and take use of the lunar far side’s pristine conditions for pioneering astronomical investigations, such as investigating the universe’s early Dark Ages.


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