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IPFS News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Measuring space telescope distortion to one-tenth the size of a hydrogen atom will enable...

• https://www.nextbigfuture.com, brian wang

Babak Saif and Lee Feinberg at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, have shown for the first time that they can dynamically detect subatomic- or picometer-sized distortions — changes that are far smaller than an atom — across a five-foot segmented telescope mirror and its support structure. Collaborating with Perry Greenfield at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, the team now plans to use a next-generation tool and thermal test chamber to further refine their measurements. 

Above – Goddard optics experts Babak Saif (left) and Lee Feinberg (right), with help from engineer Eli Griff-McMahon an employee of Genesis, have created an Ultra-Stable Thermal Vacuum system that they will use to make picometer-level measurements.
Credits: NASA/W. Hrybyk

The measurement feat is good news to scientists studying future missions for finding and characterizing extrasolar Earth-like planets that potentially could support life.


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