The Earth is a busy place. This makes it pretty frustrating to perform gravitational astronomy. But the Moon is deathly quiet making it the ideal place for a gravitational observatory. This could open door to completely new physics.
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Detecting gravitation waves is hard. You need incredibly sensitive devices susceptible to any external influence. And the Earth is full of quakes – no matter whether they were caused by natural causes or human activity. That’s exactly why it is so hard to observe gravitational waves for us. But, what if we built a gravitational observatory on the Moon?
Here on the Earth, we are only capable of detecting gravitational waves coming from some of the most energetic events in all of the Universe. Such as collisions of black holes and neutron stars. But these usually (and thankfully) happen millions and billions of light-years away from Earth and only ripple spacetime a thousandth of photons size. Detecting something like this requires incredibly large and sensitive apparatuses that will obviously be affected by various sources of noise.
This is why Karan Jani and Avi Loeb propose we use the Moon to observe gravitational waves. Recently, they presented a concept named Gravitational-wave Lunar Observatory for Cosmology (GLOC) that could be straight on the Moon’s surface. The peace there is almost scary when compared to the Earth. While the Moon also has some quakes, its quakes are much weaker and much less common than the ones on Earth. On top of that, the Moon comes with vacuum – something that is hard to create and keep here on Earth.
The Lunar environment should allow the GLOC observatory to be much more sensitive for detecting gravitational waves compared to the ones we have on Earth. The proposal’s creator says it could be capable of catching gravitational waves coming from up to 70 % of the observable Universe. And it should be capable of detecting gravitational waves on frequencies we would never be capable of detecting on Earth.
As Loeb says – the Moon is the ideal place for gravitational astronomy. No atmosphere or any serious seismic activity. If we ever build the GLOC observatory it would provide us with unique amounts of sensitivity and perhaps even guide us towards some highly sought-after physics. While it will certainly not be easy to build it would be worth it.
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