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China Put a Telescope on the Moon in 2013, Astronomers Reveal

posted: 10/14/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
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Chinese astronomers have revealed that a small robotic telescope has been functioning fabulously from the lunar surface for 18 months.

The Lunar-based Ultraviolet Telescope is the moon's first functioning robotic telescope, having arrived aboard China's Chang'e 3 lander in 2013.

Since then, it has spent 2,000 hours monitoring 40 different stars, New Scientist reports.

View of full moon against a black sky.
Jeff Foott/DCL

The presence of a functioning ultraviolet light telescope on the moon is a pretty cool development. The moon has a different, thinner atmosphere than Earth, so certain celestial objects that cannot be seen on Earth are detectable from lunar surface.

Furthermore, the moon's slow rotation allows the telescope to stay focused on the same subject for days at a time, a feat not possible on Earth.

China's dirty little secret has already outlived its one-year life expectancy; the mission could be extended at the end of this year.

H/T New Scientist

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