Astronomical Lunar Observatory
Following the detection of gravitational waves and considering the wealth of astronomical instrumentation across the electromagnetic spectrum, the radio frequency range below ~30 MHz remains the last virtually unexplored frequency domain.
The Earth’s atmosphere reflects all radiation from space below its ionospheric plasma frequency (around 20 MHz), and the turbulent ionosphere gives rise to “radio seeing”, making ground-based radio observations of the sky more difficult at frequencies below ~100 MHz but certainly prohibiting observations at the lowest frequencies. An additional complication at lower radio frequencies is that strong man-made Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) levels close to Earth require either locations which provide partial or complete obscuration of the Earth, or locations that are sufficiently remote so that the RFI levels are significantly attenuated. The lunar far side (and north and south poles) provide unique environments that can meet these requirements to open up the last, virtually unexplored, window on the universe.
The Topical Team provides a forum for the lunar community and astronomical science experts across Europe that can provide invaluable knowledge and insight that can help to inform ESA’s science preparations and advancements of lunar exploration concept studies.