[“Reasons to Build a Moon Base” is a multi-part series highlighting some of the many reasons we need to build a moon base. Use this information when making your protest signs for your next political march or PTA meeting.]
The moon base will not be all laser cannons and theme park rides. The moon base will also be a hotbed for science! Right now, no field of science is more eager for a moon base than lunar geology. Followed by moon base architecture, then crater topology, inactive volcanology, and oddly ornithology. But then the most moon-base-ready field of science is astronomy.
You might not have thought much about astronomy after you broke the tripod of that telescope your dad bought you when you were twelve because he was desperate to connect with his only son who is clearly not cut out for the football team but you didn’t have the heart to tell him you think telescopes are for weirdos but we all know you were going to be strange, socially awkward teenager telescope or no telescope. But real scientists still use telescopes all the time to search for aliens and peer through their neighbors, windows to see if they are about to get murdered.
Lunar telescopes offer many advantages over Earth-based telescopes. The hundreds of miles of air we enjoy causes image distortion for telescopes on the ground. Thanks to its lack of atmosphere, the moon does not have this problem. The slower rotation of the moon also means the telescope can focus longer on a distant object. Optical and radio telescopes on Earth are bombarded by light and radio pollution from city lights, cell phones, radio towers, truckers using CB radios, old people with CB radios in their cars, revolutionaries using CB radios to plan the overthrow of the government, doomsday preppers in the backwoods of West Virginia talking to truckers and revolutionaries over CB radios, and bird poop. Even space-based telescopes are prone to some of this pollution. Tidal locking between the Earth and the moon keeps the “dark side” of the moon always facing away from the Earth. This allows a telescope on the dark side to use the moon itself as a shield from this electromagnetic radiation from the Earth. The reduced gravity and wide open spaces means larger structures can be built on the moon. Larger telescopes with larger lenses and receivers can see deeper into the universe. There are even scientists who propose to build lunar telescope out of moon dust, meaning one of the most fragile components of a telescope could be built on site instead of being hauled into space.
Detesters criticize the idea of a lunar telescope because of the large amounts of dust on the moon, thermal expansion from the lunar surface’s drastic temperature fluctuations, lack of direct sunlight for two weeks to charge solar panels, direct exposure to the blinding sunlight for the other two weeks, only seeing half the sky as opposed to the full sky seen by satellite-based telescopes, and the price increase of building a telescope on the moon over satellite-based telescopes. To which we counter, bunch of pussies.
Folks, the need for a moon base and a lunar telescope has never been greater. The Chinese already have a telescope on the moon. We cannot let the Chinese out-science us! The United States of America needs the biggest, most advanced telescope on the moon. For science!