NASA scientists to create giant telescopes on moon

June 5th, 2008 - 10:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, June 5 (IANS) NASA scientists will fabricate the biggest ever telescopes on the lunar surface with a mixture of carbon and plenty of moon dust. “We could make huge telescopes on the moon relatively easily, and avoid the large expense of transporting a large mirror from Earth,” said Peter Chen of NASA.

“Since most of the materials are already there in the form of dust, you don’t have to bring very much stuff with you, and that saves a ton of money.”

For years, Chen had been working with carbon-fibre composite materials to produce prime telescope mirrors. But then he substituted carbon nano-tubes - or tubular structures of pure carbon - for carbon-fibre composites.

When they mixed small amounts of carbon nanotubes and epoxy - a glue-like material - with crushed rock with the same composition size as lunar dust, they found they had created a very strong concrete-like material. This material can be used instead of glass to make mirrors.

They next applied additional layers of epoxy and spun the material at room temperature. The result was a 12-inch-wide mirror blank with the parabolic shape of a telescope mirror.

“After that, all we needed to do was coat the mirror blank with a small amount of aluminium and voil

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