Two entities, the International Lunar Observatory Association and startup moon Express, are planning to put a new space telescope near the south pole of the moon.
The lunar location the team has chosen--perched 5 kilometers above the ground on the edge of the huge Malapert crater--is ideal. It allows the team to collect solar power to drive the space telescope's systems, and its local temperature is a relatively cozy average of about -50 celsius. This location also allows line-of-sight communication with Earth, which lowers the cost of the support network needed for more remote observatories. It's also a perfect place to shield the space telescope from humankind's various emissions from Earth, which can interfere with sensitive observations. The moon's southern regions are suspected to be mineral-rich and have stores of water, so the team plans to send a lunar rover up with its telescope systems.
The team plans to raise about $100 million to fund its plan, and $20 million of this might come from the Moon Express entry to the Google Lunar X Prize, which hopefully will see a probe carrying a tiny prototype of the planned space telescope land on the moon in 2015.