Dutch radio aboard Chinese space mission

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Today, the Chinese space agency launched a relay satellite to an orbit behind the Moon with a Dutch radio antenna on board, the first Dutch-made scientific instrument to be sent on a Chinese space mission, opening up a new chapter in radio astronomy.

The Netherlands Chinese Low-Frequency Explorer (NCLE) is a radio antenna developed and built by engineers from ASTRON, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy in Dwingeloo, the Radboud Radio Lab of Radboud University in Nijmegen, and the Delft-based company ISIS. The instrument will measure radio waves originating from the period right after the Big Bang, when the first stars and galaxies were formed.

“We cannot detect radio waves below 30 MHz, however, as these are blocked by our atmosphere. It is these frequencies in particular that contain information about the early universe, which is why we want to measure them,” explains Heino Falck, Professor of Astrophysics from Radboud University and ASTRON.

(Link: phys.org)

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