Post by: Nancy Atkinson
The Hubble Space Telescope has unquestionably shown the benefits of a space-based observatory, but having a telescope far from Earth offers the current conundrum of how to maintain such a facility. Since NASA?s Vision for Space Exploration is seemingly leading humans back to the moon, why not construct an observatory there? A group of scientists from the U.S. and Canada are exploring the option of building a Deep-Field Infrared Observatory in one of the moon?s polar craters. Although not quite a garden spot, this location would provide an excellent site for a very large and very unique spinning liquid mirror telescope.
It?s the year 2027 and NASA?s Vision for Space Exploration is progressing right on schedule. The first interplanetary spacecraft with humans aboard is on course for Mars. However, halfway into the trip, a gigantic solar flare erupts, spewing lethal radioactive protons directly at the spacecraft. But, not to worry. Research by former astronaut Jeffrey Hoffman and a group of MIT colleagues back in the year 2004 ensured that this vehicle has a state-of-the-art superconducting magnetic shielding system that protects the human occupants from any deadly solar emissions.