NASA and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) are launching a spacecraft to the far side of the Moon to find radio signals from 38,000 years before the Big Bang.
In a press release, the agencies announced the plan to spend the spaceship Dapper (short for Dark Ages Polarimetry Pathfinder) to the far side of the moon in order to find these radio signals in order to learn more about the formation of the earliest stars.
Unfortunately, any ancient radio signals around would be incredibly faint, so DAPPER has to go all the way to the dark side of the Moon to block out all the radio chatter from Earth."No radio telescope on Earth is currently able to definitively measure and confirm the very faint neutral hydrogen signal from the early universe, because there are so many other signals that are much brighter," said NRAO's Central Development Laboratory (CDL)'s senior research engineer Richard Bradley. "At CDL we are developing specialized techniques that enhance the measurement process used by DAPPER to help us separate the faint signal from all the noise."
DAPPER will be part of the NASA Artemis program with the goal of landing "the first woman and the next man" on the Moon by 2024.
"NRAO is very pleased to be working on this important initiative," said Tony Beasley, director of the NRAO and Associated Universities Inc. vice president for Radio Astronomy Operations. "DAPPER's contributions to the success of NASA's ARTEMIS mission will build on the rapid growth of space-based radio astronomy research we've seen over the past decade. As the leading radio astronomy organization in the world, NRAO always looks for new horizons, and DAPPER is the start of an exciting field."