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article imageNew private moon telescope to offer online views of Earth, space

By Andrew Moran     May 29, 2013 in Science
San Francisco - Are you ever interested in what the Earth looks like at 1 p.m. EST on a Saturday? Well, now you might have the chance to view our blue marble online when a privately-funded telescope gets sent to the moon in two years.
Moon Express, the designer and constructor of the International Lunar Observatory precursor, is planning to send the privately-funded telescope to the lunar surface to allow us to catch a glimpse of Earth from the moon.
Bob Richards, the CEO of Moon Express, told the Canadian Press that viewers will have the capability of manoeuvring the telescope by remote control to allow them to see other planets, stars and galaxies that surround us. Users can even turn the telescope down to take a look at the surface of the moon.
The launch is scheduled for 2015 and the telescope is described as shoe-size.
“It's citizen science on the moon and it's really a new model of public participation,” said Richards in an interview with the Canadian news outlet. “This will be a small, but very high-performance telescope on the moon that the public and scientists or professionals and amateurs alike will have access to over the Internet.”
The private firm is looking to grab the $20 million Google Lunar X Prize, a competition to land a privately-funded robot on the moon. The small rover has to travel more than 500 meters and send back HD images and video. The second-place finisher gets a $5 million prize.
Steve Durst, an American businessman and educator and head of the Hawaii-based International Lunar Observatory Association, explained that this latest venture is a fantastic example of the private commercial space sector and an aspiration doesn’t require funds from taxpayers or big science organizations.
Whether or not the commercial space sector thrives and Moon Express wins the prize, the concept of having a telescope on the moon looking down at you is “kind of a heady thing to think of,” according to Richards.
More about Moon, private telescope, Earth, Online, International Lunar Observatory precursor
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