Moon FARSIDE: Lunar Astronomy Proposal Takes Aim at Cosmic Dark Ages and Exoplanets –

The far side of the moon is an attention grabber for many reasons. A new mission idea capitalizes on those reasons in a project dubbed the Farside Array for Radio Science Investigations of the Dark ages and Exoplanets, shortened to this enlightened abbreviation: FARSIDE.

The concept would place a low-radio-frequency interferometric array on the far side of the moon. Jack Burns of the University of Colorado Boulder and Gregg Hallinan of the California Institute of Technology have sketched out a way to execute the mission in a NASA-funded report published last month.

Related: The Moon: 10 Surprising Lunar Facts

An artist’s depiction of Blue Origin’s Blue Moon lander. (Image credit: Blue Origin)

According to those materials, FARSIDE would enable near-continuous monitoring of the nearest stellar systems, letting scientists search for coronal mass ejections and energetic particle events at other stars. The instrument would also be able to detect magnetospheres of the nearest exoplanets that could be habitable. FARSIDE would be able to characterize similar activity in our own solar system as well, from the sun to the outer planets, including the hypothetical Planet Nine.


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