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Answered 2011-09-13 02:33:32

One of the main reasons why there is a push to construct a base on the moon is because telescopic observations from the moon would be clearer due to the fact that there would be no interference from an atmosphere, as is experienced on the Earth.

AnswerMoon AnswerThe heavy mirror in a large telescope becomes distorted in a gravitational field when fixed on the earth, which would happen even on the moon with its reduced gravity. This reduces the quality of the image. Actuators placed under the mirror are used to minimise this effect in some large modern telescopes (called active optics, see reference).

However, orbiting the earth in space the telescope mirror becomes weightless and these effects can be virtually eliminated. This simplifies the telescope design and the subsequent image quality should be improved.

An orbiting telescope would also be cheaper to launch and service than one located on the Moon.

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