Dust – often thought of as an impediment to lunar exploration – could be put to good use to build giant telescopes on the Moon – perhaps some large enough to fill entire craters, says a team of US researchers.
The team, led by Peter Chen of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, US, has devised a simple method to create a concrete-like substance using a mixture of carbon nanotubes, epoxy and a crushed rock material that NASA uses as a stand-in for Moon dust.
Using the mixture, they built a 30-centimetre disc. Then they added more liquid epoxy to its surface and spun it, coating it with aluminium in a vacuum. They believe the process could be scaled up to produce 20- to 50-metre-wide telescopes on the Moon.