Liquid Mirror 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. “A mirror that large could peer back in time to when the universe was very young, only half a billion years old, when the first generation of stars and galaxies were forming,” Borra exclaimed. “Potentially more exciting is pure serendipity: new things we might discover that we just don’t expect.” Says Worden: “Putting a giant telescope on the Moon has always been an idea of science fiction, but it soon could become fact.”

Site – http://spacefellowship.com

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