Researchers have developed a new way to produce and shape large, high-quality mirrors that are much thinner than the primary mirrors previously used for telescopes deployed in space. The resulting mirrors are flexible enough to be rolled up and stored compactly inside a launch vehicle.
"Launching and deploying space telescopes is a complicated and costly procedure," said Sebastian Rabien from Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Germany. "This new approach—which is very different from typical mirror production and polishing procedures—could help solve weight and packaging issues for telescope mirrors, enabling much larger, and thus more sensitive, telescopes to be placed in orbit."
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