Changee-4 Month Mission Moves to the Next Stage
After the successful opening of the NCLE radio telescope, China moves on to the next stage in Chang’s 4-Month Discovery Program. The device, which is a Sino-Dutch co-production, will capture and examine signals from the early stages of the universe.
Since its launch in December 2018, the fourth mission of the Chinese Moon Discovery Program, Chang’e-4, has achieved significant success. In this context, China achieved a first in January 2019 by downloading vehicles to the dark side of the Moon and made efforts to grow plants on the Moon.
In recent developments, the Netherlands-China Low Frequency Navigator (NCLE) started its operations after a year in orbit of the Moon. Mounted on the Queqiao communication satellite, the device consisted of three 5-meter monopoly antennas that were sensitive to radio frequencies in the 80 kHz to 80 mHz range. With the activation of this vehicle, the next phase of the Chang 4 mission was entered.
Produced in collaboration with China and the Netherlands:
The radio observatory emerged as a result of cooperation between the Dutch Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON) and the Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA). ASTRON has a long history of radio astronomy, including the work of the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope, one of the largest radio telescopes in the world.
In this context, NCLE is the first observatory produced by the Netherlands and China to conduct radio astronomy experiments while roaming the Moon and remote areas. Capable of bringing together a large number of scientific research, NCLE’s main goal is to make groundbreaking experiments in radio astronomy. The device will collect data in the 21 cm emission range corresponding to the earliest periods of cosmic history.
Signals of the Big Bang period will be examined:
The collected data will provide astronomers with information about the Dark Ages and the Cosmic Dawn, which were previously unavailable. Ultimately, astronomers will be able to study the light from the earliest times of the universe and finally find answers to the most crucial questions about the universe. These questions include when the first stars and galaxies formed, as well as the effect of dark matter and dark energy on cosmic evolution.
Stating that the device is sensitive to signals from about 13 billion years ago (800 million years after the Big Bang), scientists say that after the antennas are fully deployed, they can capture signals immediately after the Big Bang. This will allow astronomers to see the clusters of stars that come together to form the first emerging stars and the first galaxies.