Farside Explorer: unique science from a mission to the farside of the Moon | INSTITUT DE PHYSIQUE DU GLOBE DE PARIS


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  Farside Explorer: unique science from a mission to the farside of the Moon

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Experimental Astronomy, Volume 33, Issue 2-3, p.529-585, doi:10.1007/s10686-011-9252-3 (2012)




Moon, Planétiologie et sciences spatiales


Farside Explorer is a proposed Cosmic Vision medium-size mission to the farside of the Moon consisting of two landers and an instrumented relay satellite. The farside of the Moon is a unique scientific platform in that it is shielded from terrestrial radio-frequency interference, it recorded the primary differentiation and evolution of the Moon, it can be continuously monitored from the Earth-Moon L2 Lagrange point, and there is a complete lack of reflected solar illumination from the Earth. Farside Explorer will exploit these properties and make the first radio-astronomy measurements from the most radio-quiet region of near-Earth space, determine the internal structure and thermal evolution of the Moon, from crust to core, and quantify impact hazards in near-Earth space by the measurement of flashes generated by impact events. The Farside Explorer flight system includes two identical solar-powered landers and a science/telecommunications relay satellite to be placed in a halo orbit about the Earth-Moon L2 Lagrange point. One lander would explore the largest and oldest recognized impact basin in the Solar System- the South Pole-Aitken basin-and the other would investigate the primordial highlands crust. Radio astronomy, geophysical, and geochemical instruments would be deployed on the surface, and the relay satellite would continuously monitor the surface for impact events.


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