In the last few years, radio astronomers at the Green Bank Telescope are working hard on creating a prototype system to utilize radar to produce pictures of distant systems of the Solar System. Which includes the planets and also the moons, but also comets and asteroids, like the ones that might be a threat to us. A complete version of this amazing machine has been created, but incredible photographs are taken of the Moon up to now.
Throughout 2021 it had been the Hadley region on the near side of the Moon, the landing spot of Apollo 15. Today, the newest image concentrates on the Tycho crater, which was caught with a 5 meter (16.4 foot) resolution. These’re the highest – resolution pictures of the surface area of the Moon from Earth, showing new details about the area.
The project is a partnership between the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), the Green Bank Observatory (GBO) and Raytheon Intelligence & Space (RIS). The current version works with a low-power radar transmitter that can produce up to 700 watts at 13.9 gigahertz. Radio waves bounce off of the sun and tend to be reflected back onto the surface of the moon. These waves are then collected by the Very long Baseline Array (VLBA) ten 25-meter antennas.
“It is fairly amazing what we’ve been able to shoot thus far, using much less power than a common household appliance,” said Patrick Taylor, NRAO and GBO radar division head.
The full version is going to have 500 kilowatts of power and will make use of the succeeding Next Generation Very large Array (ngVLA) along with the VLBA. That is almost 1,000 times more power as compared to the total output. Additionally it will be described as a key player in the planetary defense. It can detect, track and figure out the characteristics of hazardous asteroids.
“In our tests, we managed to zero in on an asteroid 2.1 million kilometers [1,304,880 miles] away from us, more than five times the distance from Earth to the moon.” The asteroid is about a kilometer [0.6 miles] in diameter, and that is large enough to cause worldwide destruction should there be an impact. “With the high-power system, we will study far more items much even further away,” Taylor said. Having much more warning time is everything with regards to developing techniques for possible impacts. “
Next step will be a medium-power radar transmitter of at least 10 kilowatts, about 14 times more powerful than the present one. This will help refine the observation technique prior to deploying the last version.