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Ultra-Light “Photonic Muscle” Space Structures
Joe Ritter
University of Hawaii

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How to build a space telescope for 1% of the cost: Fabrication of large space optics that are accurately shaped to better than a 1000th of the width of a human hair is an enormous challenge. Traditional space telescope fabrication methods require rigid and therefore heavy mirrors, expensive spacecraft and massive rocket launch vehicles. This breakthrough technology allows every molecule of a polymer substrate to also serve as a laser powered nano-actuator. These molecules are used to control the shape of a super thin inexpensive large curved mirror, reducing cost and mass by a factor of 100. Dr. Ritter’s NIAC telescope OCCAM mirror will be less dense than a feather!