NASA X-Ray Mirror Idea Inspired by Scotch Tape (No, Really!)
by SPACE.com Staff
Date: 27 July 2012 Time: 05:13 PM ET
Scotch tape, that transparent, sticky hero of offices everywhere, could be a NASA superstar as well.
The rolled-up adhesive tape is the inspiration behind a novel idea for a completely new kind of X-ray mirror for big telescopes in space. The concept, dreamed up by NASA scientist Maxim Markevitch, is this: Instead of building an expensive telescope mirror to capture high-energy "hard" X-rays in space, why not create a mirror from tightly rolled plastic tape at a much lower cost?
"I remember looking at a roll of Scotch tape and thinking, 'Was it possible to use the same design for capturing hard X-rays?'" Markevitch explained in a NASA statement. "I talked with a few people, and to my surprise, they didn't see any principal reasons why it couldn't be done."
Markevitch and a team of other X-ray space optics experts at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., have begun testing materials that could be used to build a rolled mirror sensitive enough to collect hard X-rays from deep space.
Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
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