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Telescope tech using membrane optics moves to Phase 2

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Posted April 23, 2014
Telescope tech using membrane optics moves to Phase 2
Instead of using traditional glass mirrors or lenses, MOIRE seeks to diffract light with Fresnel lenses made from a lightweight membrane roughly the thickness of household plastic wrap. MOIRE would house the membranes in thin metal “petals” that would launch in a tightly packed configuration. Upon reaching its destination orbit, the satellite would then unfold the petals to create the full-size multi-lens optics.

The United States military’s advanced research arm (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA) never bored with the topic of finding smaller, less expensive launch vehicles, is now in Phase 2 of a program called MOIRE. The program is for creating first-ever images using lightweight membrane optics. MOIRE could help redefine how orbital telescopes are built, launched and used. MOIRE stands for the Membrane Optical Imager for Real-Time Exploitation. DARPA said, “MOIRE aims to create technologies that would enable future high-resolution orbital telescopes to provide real-time video and images of the Earth from Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO)—roughly 22,000 miles above the planet’s surface.” This would be a step forward; size and cost constraints have prevented placing large-scale imaging satellites in GEO.



Read more at: Phys.org

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