I Can See My House From Here: Some images of NASA's proposed lunar telescope

I admit I was rather skeptical when I first heard that NASA was hoping to build a telescope on the Moon using lunar dust. I'm no materials scientist, but it seemed reasonable enough that regolith could be formed into various materials suitable for building things like telescopes. It's just that, in my limited experience, dust is the arch nemesis of optical equipment.

But I just dug up a couple images (thanks, Intarweb!) of what this monster might look like.

Here's a parabolic mirror formed from JSC-1A, a substance used to simulate regolith on Earth:


Of course I have no real data as to the optical properties of this mirror, but it certainly looks nice and shiny.

And here is the drawing that surface a little while back of astronauts setting up the telescope:


Pulp science fiction anyone?

William said...

My first time working at NASA, I worked across the hall from Dr. Peter Chen, and had a few friends who were interning for him. He was working on a slightly different lunar scope then, but all I remember was that it somehow involved the ceramics that are used to make space shuttle tiles and "frictionless bearings" that took advantage of the low temperatures on the Moon to make magnetic bearings with superconductors where the ball never touched the socket. He had some of those you could play with (if they were chilled with liquid nitrogen first), which was really cool. Creative guy!

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