Many folks would like to see us back on the Moon and developing its resources.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Liquid Mirror Telescopes on the Moon

Spin me another one.

In one science fiction story I read, a mirror was made out of ice,
coated with a reflective metal compound, and used to bounce a
communication laser off of it and into the view port of the lunar base
doing bodily harm to the occupant. The Sun came up, ice melted, and all
that was left was some fine powdery residue on the lunar regolith.

Here we want to spin us a large reflector for a telescope and in the
past we have heard that mercury would do this on Earth, but mercury is
HEAVY and the vapors are not good for you. You probably wouldn't be
breathing them in the vacuum of the Moon but then your mirror wouldn't
be too good if all the liquid left to contaminate the vacuum.

Here we have a different substance used for the liquid and again coated
with a very thin film of metal.

Take a look at the article and see just how the story is spun up.
- LRK -

NASA Science News for October 9, 2008

A team of internationally renowned astronomers and opticians may have
found a way to make 'unbelievably large' telescopes on the Moon.


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Larry Kellogg

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John Bluck
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
Phone: 650-604-5026

June 21, 2007
NASA Liquid-Mirror Telescope on Moon Might See Deeper Back in Time
Someday, astronauts on the moon may pour liquid onto a disc-shaped mesh
to make a huge mirror for a powerful telescope, according to a technical
article just made public.

The liquid would include a silver-coated surface, and would be part of
an optical-infrared telescope with a 66-foot (20-meter) to 328-foot (100
meter) aperture capable of observing objects 100 to 1,000 times fainter
than the James Webb Space Telescope, the authors say. The technical
paper will appear in the June 21, 2007, issue of the journal, Nature.

"In this case we have shown how the moon is ideal (for) using liquid
mirror technology to build a telescope much larger than we can
affordably build in space," said S. Pete Worden, director of NASA Ames
Research Center in California's Silicon Valley, and a co-author of the
technical paper. The lead author is Ermanno Borra, Laval University,
Quebec, Canada. "Such telescopes, perhaps 100 meters in diameter can see
back to the early phases of the universe after the Big Bang," Worden added.

The authors envision making lunar, infrared telescopes to study normal
and dwarf galaxies.

Liquid Mirror Telescopes on the Moon

October 9, 2008: A team of internationally renowned astronomers and
opticians may have found a way to make "unbelievably large" telescopes
on the Moon.

"It's so simple," says Ermanno F. Borra, physics professor at the Optics
Laboratory of Laval University in Quebec, Canada. "Isaac Newton knew
that any liquid, if put into a shallow container and set spinning,
naturally assumes a parabolic shape--the same shape needed by a telescope
mirror to bring starlight to a focus. This could be the key to making a
giant lunar observatory."

Borra, who has been studying liquid-mirror telescopes since 1992, and
Simon P. "Pete" Worden, now director of NASA Ames Research Center, are
members of a team taking the idea for a spin.




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