Science News

Mirror Mirror on the Moon

Sun, 24th Jun 2007

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Space scientists have come up with a way to make a moon-based telescope 1000 times more powerful than Hubble. But unlike traditional telescopes their's uses a liquid as its mirror. The idea relies on gravity deforming the liquid, when it is spun, into the perfect mirror shape. But the key breakthough from Roger Angel and his colleagues at the University of Arizona has been to find an ionic liquid that remains mobile and won't evaporate at ambient temperature and pressure in space, and also the ability to coat the surface of the liquid with silver particles to make it reflective. To obtain the best results the telescope would have to be sited on one of the moon's poles, because the low temperatures there will enable the mirror to detect objects with significant red-shift. Such a powerful telescope would enable us to see futher into space, and hence further back in time, than ever before.


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