Construction of the Dark Ages Lunar Interferometer, or DALI, will require a lot a territory, for sufficient baseline to build an antenna to detect even the lowest harmonics of highly redshifted electro-magnetic signals, and there's a need for much "radio-quiet" to pull those signals out from the background noise, for the best signal-to-noise ratio and "gain."
And the Dark Ages Lunar Interferometer will need both to detect the altogether faint signals of, well, whatever one might find in the darkness between the Realm of the Blue Galaxies - the very limit of optical telescopy and still on our side of the cosmic microwave hiss of just three degrees above absolute zero - all that remains of the outer edge of the Big Bang, when "nothing became everything."
The Cosmic Dark Ages have something to tell us, but they exist only in the fossil sky and from a period before the first stars formed. It is truly a dark age, and JPL would like to change this. And one Prime Reason for a return to Earth's Moon is made manifest, because it is a natural platform for the largest telescopes imaginable, and these idea are taking shape sooner rather than later.
The construction of the DALI, a sea of "cellular" detectors spread over a huge are, will be, developers say, robotic. A trick, on the Farside, depending on interminent communication and exceptionally hardy robots, of course.
The Lunar Farside has both "radio-quiet" and territory, in abundance, or NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena hopes so, and for the moment anyway.
The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory showed off its Athletes, recently, and not for the Beijing Olympics. These Athletes look ready for uncomplaining work deploying MIT's design for a very, very, very long baseline interferometer in the Sea of Tsiolkovski, named, of course for the Russian school teacher who dreamed and discovered a "method of achieving extreme altitude," in awe, "to lift, by hand, a rock from the moon," and, in the next sentence, "the earth is the cradle of the mind, but one cannot live forever in a cradle."
It's an excellent first look. From DVICE.com (powered by SciFi )
See also "Naval Research Laboratory to design Farside DALI," March 11, 2008