APPEAL FOR THE REALIZATION OF AN ASTRONOMIC OBSERVATORY ON THE MOON
by Franco Malgarini
This appeal is addressed to all the ones that have the grasp of secrets of the universe at heart and want to work on to lay the foundations of human space exploration. The mankind has a barrier to overcome and a no limits horizon to discover.
The billions of stars, the galaxies, the collisions between the giants in the sky, the unknown factors of astrophysical phenomenon, the possibility of finding the life on other planets, the research of extraterrestrial minds, the questions of the universe and the place of mankind in it, they are sides of a great plan that needs to be disclosed.
Humanity must expand itself in the universe. The Earth is reduced to overpopulation, to pollution, to destruction of environmental resources, to all sorts of conflict. Only the space and innumerable planets being in it, can give to humanity unlimited and available energy and raw materials without stealing, killing or polluting, and larger lands, able to provide with living space a large number of human beings. The space colonization is the natural continuation of our process of growth, the only alternative route to the brutal possibility that men during futures millenniums can submit them to live forever in a still more crowded and slowly degrading environment. It isn't fantasy, nor a play, nor science fiction. It is the will of renascence, of evolution, and of progress that pool us.
Short-term, the most important aim to attain is the construction of a Lunar base, not important in itself, but saw as point of support for an observatory. The moon will become the humanity's eye in the universe, a giant set of great instruments looking into the most out of the way places and searching other forms of life on planets that are the same as the Earth. The Hubble telescope already showed the capability of instruments placed in the space, but the moon has better requisites for the astronomical observation, allowing the use of telescopes for infrared, ultraviolet, X rays, gamma rays and the radio-wave of all wave-length. Such telescopes must be at present put into orbit on artificial satellites with very high costs.
Also optical telescopes are going to have great advantages compared to those placed on the Earth, because they could attain the theoretical limit of their own precision power. These ones are going to be bound to the lunar rotation and theyll cannot pick up light from the same astronomical object no longer than half a lunar rotation. Since, however, the lunar day is nearly a month long, the number of photons which can be picked up by optical telescopes mirrors during a single observation, its going to be enormously superior compared with that is obtainable on the Earth.
The total lack of atmosphere, the seismic stability, the scarcity of interferences from the luminous and radio-waves (most of all on the hidden face of our satellite), the richness of raw materials, the minor gravitational attraction, they make of the Moon the best place for the astronomical observation.
The installation on the Moon of a big optical interferometer is an ambitious project. The Lunar Optical-Ultraviolet-Infrared Synthesis Array (LOUISA) would have a precision 100.000 times over the bigger telescopes on Earth. Composed by 42 1.5 meters telescopes, electronically linked, arranged on a 10 km diameter, this observatory could allow to identify planets that are the same as those of solar system around thousands stars, details of planets and asteroids and a lot of other things.
A radio telescope on the Moon, linked with another one on the Earth, could have the precision power of a sole 400.000-km diameter aerial. Besides the moon craters are very good hollows to lay fixed radio telescopes like those placed in Arecibo.
On the hidden side of the Moon we can study the low frequency radio waves building the Very Low Frequency Array (VLFA) composed by 200 dipole antennas, distributed on a 20 km diameter, linked with a central installation for data-harvesting. It could be possible to build gamma impulse, X emissions, neutrinos, gravitational waves detector, telescopes for millimetric waves etc.
This is a technologically "possible" objective because it is supposed by sure datum points, like the International Space Station, the chemical propulsion, the presence of water in lunar poles, the possibility to use the local resources to build tools and equipment.
Italy has great tradition as regard to exploration. Cristoforo Colombo and the others taught us that we need an ideal to pursue with determination during the life. A man without ideals is nothing, because he walks along his earthly life writing not on the stone, but on the sand, which deletes all. We also want that the Italian Astronautics see the light, so that other people cannot say us how we should pay and how longer we are going to wait for our pat of future in the heavens.
Our action must be born from down. Each single person, each association, each group, they must give their own contribution for promoting, projecting, financing, developing. If we would be able to create an opinion movement for a project that involves the official organs, universities, industries, we are going to have concrete results in few time.
This appeal is sent at the same time to hundreds of SETI researchers, astronomy lovers, ufologic associations, astronautic societies, magazines and Italian publication, single researchers.
We ask to give the maximum diffusion to this document in order that all the interested people, each according to his own possibilities and will, participates actively to this project. The address to refer to is the following:
Franco Malgarini A.S.P.S., Dipartimento RA-9; via di Boccea 302, 00167 Roma
[English translation by Massimiliano Autino]