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NASA Liquid-Mirror Telescope on Moon Might See Deeper Back in Time
06.21.07
 
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.

3.7-m diameter liquid mirror at Laval University Left: 3.7 meter diameter liquid mirror at Laval University. The liquid is mercury. There are no detectable mercury vapors in the air because a thin transparent layer of oxide covers the surface. Photo Credit: Guy Plante (Laval).
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6-m diameter LMT at the University of British Columbia Left: 6 meter diameter LMT at the University of British Columbia. Photo Credit: Paul Hickson (UBC)
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image of stars and galaxies from 6m LMT Left: Image of stars and galaxies taken with the 6 meter diameter LMT at the University of British Columbia. Photo Credit: Paul Hickson
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2 inch diameter flat liquid mirror. Left: Image of a 2 inch diameter flat liquid mirror. It is made of an ionic liquid coated with a thin layer of silver. We can see the reflection of a resolution chart in the liquid. Photos Credit: Omar Seddiki (Laval).
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