Satellites made from Moon Dust, Carbon Nanotubes and Epoxy

January 12, 2010 by Super Glue Corporation Leave a reply »
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dn14066-1_250[PHOTO CREDIT:  NewScientist Heather Chen Illustration]

According to NewScientist in an article entitled “Giant Telescopes Could Be Built From Moon Dust” by Kimm Groshong, scientists are experimenting with making a concrete-like substance, using Carbon Nanotubes, Epoxy, and crushed rock-like material similar to moon dust to build satellites that could be placed on the moon.  According to the article the testing has begun, led by NASA’s, Peter Chen.   “Using the mixture, they built a 30-centimetre disc.  They they added more liquid epoxy to its surface and spun it, coating it with aluminum in a vacuum.  They believe the process could be scaled up to produce 20 to 50-metre-wide telescopes on the moon.”  This would save shuttles and rockets from having to transport these satellites to and from the moon.

The process is still quite cumbersome and costly.  “To make a 2.4 metre mirror like Hubble’s, Chen estimates the recipe would call for about 600 kilograms (1300 pounds) of Moon dust, 60 kg (130 pounds) of epoxy, 6 kg (13 pounds) of carbon nanotubes and less than a gram of aluminum.”

But the uses of this special concrete are limitless, according to the article, “the technique could also be used to build other structures on the Moon, including reflectors for an array of solar panels, as well as habitats, or igloos for astronauts …”

Apparently, the moon is an excellent location for research.  Astronomers, like Yervant Terzian of Cornell University, “dream of the viewing opportunities such large telescopes on the moon would offer.”  The lack of atmosphere on the moon makes it an excellent place to study the sky clearly “at optical wavelengths” and because the backside of the moon never sees the Earth there is no manmade radio interference making it ideal for radio astronomy research.

Fascinating stuff, but not out of reach as we enter the new decade Twenty Twenty!

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