Did you know that China has had an ultraviolet telescope on the moon since 2013? Chinese astronomers just recently revealed that the lunar rover that China landed on the moon was also a robotic telescope. Since the Moon has a thinner atmosphere than that of Earth, certain objects can be seen from the lunar surface that are not detectable from Earth. Also, our friends over at Discovery.com, pointed out that due to the moon’s slow rotation the Chinese telescope can stay focused on the same subject for days at a time. As with any program trying to get off the ground or for the study of celestial objects, exposure time counts!
Similar to the NASA Cube Quest Challenge and Team Miles, China has indicated that they are looking to be more creative and collaborative about exploring space. As part of their expansion, Chinese scientists have indicated that exploring the far side of the moon is of great scientific importance, but to do that they would need a relay satellite to communicate with the indicated probe. Every competitor satellite in the NASA Cube Quest Challenge is a communication/data relay satellite, whether in lunar orbit or from deep space (defined as 10x the distance from the earth to the Moon). Who knows? Maybe we shall have the opportunity to do business with Chinese space industry customers in our future.
The future looks bright! If a market as large as China is looking to delve head long into space exploration, then there will be a multiplier effect to the level of opportunity currently available. We at Team Miles look forward to that expansion and opportunity beyond the conclusion of our current mission as a part of the NASA Cube Quest Challenge.