NASA has unveiled a new shiny gold mirror that will be sent into space. This mirror of NASA’s will find the “first light” in the universe and find new planets.
The mirror is a part of an initiative that will test NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope after being integrated with the mirror. The primary mirror is made up of 18 smaller mirrors. It will be the biggest mirror to be sent into space.
In regards to the “first light” mentioned above, what this means is that NASA’s mirror will be looking for remnants of the beginnings of the universe. Also, NASA will use the observatory mirror to find star forming nebulae, exoplanets, moons and other planets in the Solar System.
Soon, NASA will undertake various tests to find out if the mirror will be able to survive in space. In the next few months, engineers will install other important elements to complement the mirror.
A news report by Manufacturing detailed the compositions of the mirror. “NASA live-streamed the unveiling of the mirror, which is made of 18 beryllium segments. They were integrated at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, after being manufactured by Ball Aerospace. The brightly colored coating is a layer of vaporized gold, added to the mirrors in order to improve their reflection of infrared light. The shape of the mirrors is controlled to 0.6 micrometers, in order to be less than a fraction of the wavelengths which it will observe,” the report noted.
So far, the mirror has four crucial missions: Find the earliest stars and galaxies, build an understanding of the galaxies’ advancements, find new formations of stars and solar systems, and scan for Earth-like planets with similar compounds and chemical properties.
The James Webb Space Telescope is scheduled to blast off in 2018. NASA said the telescope will be the strongest ever built.