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Unbelievably Large Telescopes On the Moon?

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the thats-no-moon dept.

Moon 292

Matt_dk writes "A team of internationally renowned astronomers and opticians may have found a way to make "unbelievably large" telescopes on the Moon. 'It's so simple,' says Ermanno F. Borra, physics professor at the Optics Laboratory of Laval University in Quebec, Canada. 'Isaac Newton knew that any liquid, if put into a shallow container and set spinning, naturally assumes a parabolic shape, the same shape needed by a telescope mirror to bring starlight to a focus. This could be the key to making a giant lunar observatory.'"

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292 comments

Ob (5, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312203)

Actually, it just seems large because the moon looks so small. My guess is you're holding the telescope the wrong way round.

No Way!!! (2, Funny)

naz404 (1282810) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312207)

I can't believe it! Do you? *gasps*

Re:No Way!!! (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25312457)

He's not "offtopic", he's riffing on "unbelievable". Try to get a clue, huh?

Re:No Way!!! (-1, Offtopic)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312621)

He's not "offtopic", he's riffing on "unbelievable". Try to get a clue, huh?

You're right, he surely is, Mr. Anonymous Person Who's Not In Any Way Affiliated With The GP And Just Happens To Want To Defend *Him*.

Re:No Way!!! (0, Offtopic)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312817)

No, the GP wasn't some twitter-wannabe. It was me, I just get irritated by clueless moderation. The AC was just to avoid an offtopic hit myself.

I'm Being Followed By A... (3, Funny)

Illbay (700081) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312225)

...n unbelievably large telescope on the moon.

Re:I'm Being Followed By A... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25312703)

Splitting comments...
... between subject and body is bad.

Splitting wo...
...rds is even worse.

Why do you people do it??? (Serious question)

Wow (2, Interesting)

ekimd (968058) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312259)

As with many ideas, this is so simple I can't believe we haven't thought of this before.

Re:Wow (5, Informative)

Don_dumb (927108) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312377)

The article implied that they have been thinking about this for years.
The difference is now they think they may have a liquid they can use - ionic liquids. On earth they use Mercury as the liquid but that is too heavy to lift to space and it will evaporate. Also the costs involved are now demonstrating it is viable for lunar use.

Summary is completely misleading... (4, Insightful)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312289)

When I saw the summary I actually HOPED it would be misleading, because it makes it sound like nobody had thought of liquid mirror telescopes before. Now it's possible that they were just copying a similarly misleading article, but no... even has a nice photo of the Large Zenith Telescope to spice things up. Space Fellowship 1 - Slashdot 0.

Re:Summary is completely misleading... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25312611)

>> It's just that no one has suggested using astronaut pee for a lens before.

New? (3, Informative)

Kythe (4779) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312311)

Hmmm...as the article notes, the idea of liquid mirror telescopes isn't new, so it seems a tad odd that this is being trumpeted as a breakthrough.

The ionic liquid coated with silver is cool, though.

Re:New? (2, Insightful)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312401)

I think the break through is the part where they build it on the moon. I understand how building a massive telescope on the moon will be difficult, and although this may be slightly easier, I don't consider it a massive breakthrough.

I would consider a massive breakthrough building the telescope out of moon dust, or some other material readily available on the moon. That way, we don't have to transport massive amounts of equipment to the dark side of the moon.

Not Dark Side (5, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312677)

we don't have to transport massive amounts of equipment to the dark side of the moon.

It's FAR SIDE people! Far Side, Far Side, Far Side. Like the cartoon. The Moon is tidally locked to Earth, so there's a Near side and a Far Side. If it were tidally locked to the Sun, then you'd have a light side and a dark side. But it's not, so we don't. There is no dark side of the moon, except for the ever changing half that's facing away from the sun at the moment.

Re:Not Dark Side (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25312775)

Oblig. "There is no dark side of the moon. It's all dark."

Re:Not Dark Side (4, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312827)

While I generally wouldn't use the term "dark side" myself, you do realize that a lot of terms are just terms because that's what they've traditionally been called right? Just as not everyone who says "Ooh, a falling star!" really believes that it's LITERALLY a falling star, I'd hazard a guess that a lot of people who perfectly well understand that the other side of the moon isn't actually dark, would still call it the "dark side" because it's been called that for so long.

Re:Not Dark Side (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25312981)

I would call it the dark side just if only for Pink Floyd.

Re:Not Dark Side (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25312843)

There is no dark side of the moon, except for the ever changing half that's facing away from the sun at the moment.
Let me get this straight...
The ever changing half that's facing away from the sun is not dark? or is not a side?

Re:Not Dark Side (4, Insightful)

wooferhound (546132) | more than 5 years ago | (#25313117)

There is a Dark Side . . .
but it's at the top, and inside of a crater as suggested in TFA

Re:New? (1)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312761)

To be fair, TFA doesn't "trumpet this as a breakthrough". It's the ionic liquid coated with silver which is new and the breakthrough that would make lunar liquid telescopes feasible.

It WILL happen one day (3, Interesting)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312319)

Since the "dark" side of the moon is protected from the radio emissions from Earth, I think it's inevitable that the dark side will one day be "the" spot for big radio telescope arrays. Why not put our biggest optical telescope there as well?

Re:It WILL happen one day (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25312381)

there is no dark side of the Moon really... as a matter of fact it's all dark

Re:It WILL happen one day (5, Informative)

Speare (84249) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312643)

The so-called "dark side of the moon" does not refer to the lack of sunlight or nighttime conditions. All parts of the moon go through the same kind of night/day cycle that the Earth does, only 29.53x slower.

The phrase refers to radio darkness. The moon spins at the same rate it orbits the Earth, so the same familiar craters are always facing us. Anyone standing amongst those craters is being bombarded by the radio noise chatter of the whole Earth population. Anyone standing on the opposite side of the moon can pick up none of that.

One potential problem with setting up bases on the dark side is how to communicate with them. To maintain the radio silence, you can't just stick a radio-based communication moon-satellite out there. It would be very expensive to maintain a cable or laser hookup for any significant distance along the moon surface. So you're left with small windows of time you can communicate, or you work on a focused laser-based comm link with a moon-satellite. That reminds me... what's the "geosynchronous" radius for moon-satellites?

Re:It WILL happen one day (5, Interesting)

interiot (50685) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312797)

Stick at relay satellite at the Earth-Moon L4 or L5 [wikipedia.org] . That means the telescope couldn't be exactly opposite Earth, but if there's still a lot of room where it's shielded from Earth but still in view of L4 or L5.

Re:It WILL happen one day (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25313051)

Don't be ridiculous; the moon is both smaller, less geologically active and less populated that any place on earth.

It would be a simple thing to install a fiberoptic "lunar telegraph" from one side to the other,.

It's not like you have to dig under peoples houses and get easements, after all :)

Re:It WILL happen one day (1)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | more than 5 years ago | (#25313213)

Surely it would be simpler to have a satellite in the most favorable la grange orbit. Would make things simpler.

Re:It WILL happen one day (2, Interesting)

ari_j (90255) | more than 5 years ago | (#25313289)

Would that by cynthiosynchronous? I'm not sure, although I know that pericynthion is to the moon as perigee is to the Earth. At any rate, I suspect that the month-long rotational period of the moon means that a synchronous orbit would be outside of the moon's influence to the point it would be picked off by the Earth. In fact, rough figuring with my calculator shows that the radius of a moon-synchronous orbit is 230 times the distance of the moon from the Earth. You'll have to just play around with Lagrangian points and hope for the best.

Re:It WILL happen one day (1)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312569)

Since the "dark" side of the moon is protected from the radio emissions from Earth, I think it's inevitable that the dark side will one day be "the" spot for big radio telescope arrays. Why not put our biggest optical telescope there as well?

Because for close to half the time the far side of the moon is completely blinded because it is looking towards the sun.

Re:It WILL happen one day (1)

whencanistop (1224156) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312785)

Surely the main trouble with putting it on the moon is that the sun and Earth's gravitational pull would cause lots of minor defects throughout the day/month/year depending on its position to each of them.

Unless the moon doesn't have an eliptical orbit (wikipedia suggests that probably isn't true though - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon [wikipedia.org] ).

Re:It WILL happen one day (1)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312947)

I would have thought that the main problem with a liquid mirror on the moon is vibration causing ripples on the surface. The constant meteroid impact on the surface causes vibrations that would travel up the structure and distort the liquid surface. That and the vibration from the spinning mechanism itself.

Or the thermal gradient changes as parts of the structure are in and out of the sunlight - this was a design consideration for Hubble and it is much smaller than what is being considered here.

Gravity is a concern, but I dont think it is by any means the dominant design driver.

Re:It WILL happen one day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25312613)

???

the dark side is always facing away from the sun, not us.

i guess half of every 28 days would be protected though.

Re:It WILL happen one day (3, Insightful)

sp332 (781207) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312641)

Um, how will it transmit images back to earth, with the entire moon blocking radio transmissions?

Re:It WILL happen one day (1)

evanbd (210358) | more than 5 years ago | (#25313073)

Burst transmissions to a satellite while not observing? Optical focused beam links to a relay satellite also work. As another commenter pointed out, the L4 / L5 points are the obvious spots. Longer term, you could consider laying optical fiber.

Oblig. Pink Floyd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25312711)

Since the "dark" side of the moon is protected from the radio emissions from Earth...

"There is no dark side of the Moon really... as a matter of fact it's all dark"

It's so simple (1)

arootbeer (808234) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312329)

to get liquids to the moon?

Re:It's so simple (5, Funny)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312383)

You just build a big tube. Like a giant internet that goes to the moon.

Re:It's so simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25312891)

You just build a big tube. Like a giant internet that goes to the moon.

Wait a sec. I thought the internet was like a big dump truck that you just put stuff in. A tube? Are you sure?

Believable. (1)

geckipede (1261408) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312343)

Too big to fit into our current spaceships is nowhere near unbelievable.

The range of unbelievable scale starts at 1000m. This idea could work for a rotating mirror that large, but not on the moon unless you're willing to lay rather a lot of maglev track to support the weight of the outer edges of the mirror, or to take a ludicrous amount of support structure to the moon.

surveillance? (-1, Troll)

Smivs (1197859) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312365)

I suspect the UK gov't has already started work on one of these as it is easier, and cheaper in the long run, to monitor UK citizens this way than by using 1000s of CCTV cameras, and will allow the gov't to keep tabs on us even when abroad. I'm off to the dark side of the moon for a bit of *$%&&*!

Done on mythbusters-busted (0, Flamebait)

harris s newman (714436) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312367)

Ok, do you scientists even watch tv? Mythbusters tried this with mercury and it didn't work. I guess having ideal circumstances on earth makes it wrong, doing on the moon would be much easier.

Re:Done on mythbusters-busted (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25312557)

Really? I wonder what they did wrong. Maybe they should have just bought plane tickets to Canada instead:

http://www.astro.ubc.ca/LMT/lzt/index.html

Re:Done on mythbusters-busted (2, Informative)

leonardluen (211265) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312567)

it wasn't even part of a myth, it was part of a contest between two outside groups trying to start things on fire with mirrors. when they discovered that all teams were technically not fully within the rules they had to revise their mirrors, the one time tried to use plaster in a spinning platform to form parabola but it didn't come out with the correct shape so they had to abandon it. no myth was busted from this.

it was this episode [kwc.org]

Mythbusters wrong! Ohnoes!!one! (2, Informative)

splutty (43475) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312579)

I know this isn't typical slashdottiness, but I actually read the article, and have some knowledge of telescopes in general. But since you won't believe me purely on my supposed knowledge, here's a quote from TFA:

Most liquid-mirror telescopes on Earth have used mercury. Mercury remains molten at room temperature, and it reflects about 75 percent of incoming light, almost as good as silver. The biggest liquid-mirror telescope on Earth, the Large Zenith Telescope operated by the University of British Columbia in Canada, is 6 meters across--

And to add insult to injury (Uh Oh...): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Large_Zenith_Telescope [wikipedia.org]
Yeah... They'll never work. Mythbusters said so.

Re:Mythbusters wrong! Ohnoes!!one! (2, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 5 years ago | (#25313017)

At the risk of sounding adolescent: LOL, BURNED!!

Now, with that out of my system, I must admit that I find it incredibly comical how much some people rely on MythBusters for their info. Don't get me wrong, it's a good show, but seriously, for things like this, they act as if these same two guys can prove or disprove ANYTHING within a day or two of playing around with it.

Fusion research? Why bother? Call the Mythbusters and they'll let us know by next week whether or not it's feasible . . .

Re:Done on mythbusters-busted (2, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312663)

Ok, do you scientists even watch tv?

One hopes they have better things to do. Do you Slashdotters even read articles?

Mythbusters tried this with mercury and it didn't work.

Some people who actually know what they are doing tried it and it [ok4me2.net] did work.

BTW the first working laboratory LMT was built in 1872.

Re:Done on mythbusters-busted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25313143)

Oh, so I guess the all the working liquid mirror telescopes from the late 19th - early 20th centuries suddenly ceased to have worked.

And so have the working solar LM telescopes from the '70s and 80's.

The one at the Rio de Janeiro Astronomy Museum (French, ca. late 1800's) was revved up and tested (after a bit of cleaning and oiling) in the '90s and worked fine, last time I saw it.

All of which have been mentioned in diverse prestigious peer-reviewed papers over the last 150-odd years.

Mythbusters is entertainment, not science. Get your priorities right. And check your history, first of all.

Oh, and heavier-than-air flight _is_ possible. Mathematically or otherwise. Just in case...

Pointed straight up... (1)

muellerr1 (868578) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312393)

That's great. When they want to look at a different patch of sky, they can just just swivel the moon.

make the moon itself a telescope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25312405)

What else can we realistically do with it?

Wasn't there something about the parallax between having a telescope on the moon and one on earth that would make it incredibly valuable? Determining distances (and that handy lack of atmosphere - no twinkling).

Re:make the moon itself a telescope (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312493)

Twinkling has been technologically defeated in serious astronomy. Parallax measurements would benefit but not on the levels that it's currently done on. Your accuracy of a parallax measurement when the observation points are only a quarter of a million miles apart is going to suffer compared to when they're 186 million miles apart.

C0m (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25312407)

by BSDI who ssel Are having trouble consider that right

Cunning plan... (1)

CaptainOfSpray (1229754) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312439)

which as always, will require correction. In this case, for the Moon's own rotation (for instance, Coriolis force if not at a pole). And precessionary wobbles, if the Moon is still precessing.

what next (1)

Mr. Maestro (876173) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312441)

a 3 million dollar overhead projector...oh wait...you mean there are other kinds of projectors?

Re:what next (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25313255)

It's at ground(moon-ground), er, lune, level.
So it can't be an "overhead" projector. No matter how short you are...
And "underfoot projector", perhaps ?

Oh, I suppose that makes it an even greater waste of money, doesn't it ? :-?

To the moon! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25312471)

Hey Alice, hold onto this giant liquid mirror for a sec...

WHAM BAM!

No liquid on the moon, not very smart are they (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25312483)

haha

Read TFA, sounds fundamentally flawed. (3, Interesting)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312539)

The "liquids" to be used are less dense than water, and being placed on the lunar surface, which is covered in dust several times finer than baking powder.

I'd give it about 3-5 days (depending on the size) before the "revolving liquid mirrors" become revolving lunar mud pies.

Re:Read TFA, sounds fundamentally flawed. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25312625)

couldn't possibly be a lid on it to protect it from lunar dust/solar winds/micrometeorites. No possible way they'd think of that. Absolutely implausible that they'd use a static charge to repel ionized particles either, just fucking inconceivable.

Re:Read TFA, sounds fundamentally flawed. (5, Insightful)

mlush (620447) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312659)

The "liquids" to be used are less dense than water, and being placed on the lunar surface, which is covered in dust several times finer than baking powder.

I'd give it about 3-5 days (depending on the size) before the "revolving liquid mirrors" become revolving lunar mud pies.

How? Is the wind is going to blow the dust onto the mirror??

Re:Read TFA, sounds fundamentally flawed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25312897)

There's no atmosphere and therefore no wind on the moon. I don't see any transport mechanism that could move the powder into the liquid mirrors.

Evaporation problem. (1, Insightful)

WibbleOnMars (1129233) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312597)

The biggest issue I see with this tech on the moon is that not many substances exist as a liquid in a vacuum, and while I appreciate that the lunar surface isn't a true vacuum, it's good enough that your telescope would either evaporate or freeze almost immediately.

That said, if you could get a liquid mirror up there and spin it into shape, you could then expose it to the outside temperature to freeze it, and you'd remove the need to keep spinning it forever.

Re:Evaporation problem. (1)

pipatron (966506) | more than 5 years ago | (#25313003)

your telescope would either evaporate or freeze almost immediately

How about just trying to read the article, at least if you are going to pretend know something.

Spin it & freeze it (4, Interesting)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312615)

If they spin it up, let is settle and then freeze it they would have a perfect steerable mirror. Any reason why this would not work, perhaps the crystals that form on freezing making imperfections ?

It would mean having to choose the right material (solid at moon temperature, liquid at not too much more, small/no surface crystals on freezing, ionic so that it can be coated with silver, ...). Making something like this on the moon would be much cheaper than taking it up there.

OK: I understand that they might not want to steer if far off vertical to keep things cheap but I would have thought that a little directionality would be a boon.

Re:Spin it & freeze it (3, Insightful)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 5 years ago | (#25313183)

In order for the 'mirror' to maintain its shape it would have to be continuously spinning during the 'freezing' phase. If it were to stop and 'settle' you would end up with a useless, slightly convex, mirror. Also, whether you find the materials necessary to manufacture the mirror on the Moon or not, the machinery to produce the mirror and the rest of the observatory need to be sent from Earth, first, which makes this a totally unfeasible, insanely expensive. proposal.
Smart science type guys do it again. "Hey, we can make 'X' for really cheap on the Moon. The only problem is that we have to get to the Moon to make it really cheap."

Boing boing (2, Funny)

orsty3001 (1377575) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312657)

If this would have been a "steampunk" telescope on the moon, then this article would have made boingboing.

IANAPhysicist, but... (0, Offtopic)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312669)

At what point would we be putting too much weight/mass/etc on the moon?

I have no idea what the math required to answer this question would be, but it occurs to me that it may be possible to relocate enough matter from earth to the moon that it negatively impacts the moon's orbit. As I understand it, the moon's gravitational pull works against the earth's and the two are in a sort of balance that determines the distance of the moon's orbit, or something.

I imagine that 'some quantity' of stuff would make the moon rather lopsided, and could even cause it to wobble...

My question: How much?

Re:IANAPhysicist, but... (5, Informative)

kmac06 (608921) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312819)

A lot.

The mass of the moon is ~7*10^22 kg (70 billion trillion kg). The mass of the Saturn V rocket is about 3 million kg. If we sent up a Saturn V rocket for every man, woman, and child on the planet, we wouldn't even be close to an appreciable fraction of a percent of the moon's mass. And even if we were, it is a stable system so there wouldn't be any significant effect.

Re:IANAPhysicist, but... (0, Offtopic)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312967)

Offtopic, is it?

I guess that depends on how 'Unbelievably Large' these 'Telescopes On the Moon' are, now doesn't it?

What a waste of your mod points...

Re:IANAPhysicist, but... (4, Informative)

david.given (6740) | more than 5 years ago | (#25313071)

As I understand it, the moon's gravitational pull works against the earth's and the two are in a sort of balance that determines the distance of the moon's orbit, or something.

Yes, but the mass of the object is irrelevant. Very approximately, an orbit is where the outward force due to centrifugal force[*] is equal to the inward force due to gravity; both these terms scale linearly with mass, so if you increase the mass of one, the other increases proportionately and the balance remains.

(This is why the space shuttle and the space station can be in the same orbit a few metres apart, despite being different sizes.)

Also, in general the human race is nowhere near able to do any kind of cosmic engineering, deliberate or otherwise. Even if we bent all our resources to it, we wouldn't even be able to significantly resculpt the surface of our own planet, let alone another one.

[*] To pedants: yes, I know.

(BTW, the moon already is lopsided. The same tides that pull water around on Earth pulls the rock around on the moon. The near side of the moon is significantly larger than the far side. Interesting factoid: the moon is so irregular that setting up a stable orbit around it is really hard [nasa.gov] .)

Re:IANAPhysicist, but... (2, Informative)

joshrulzzatwork (758329) | more than 5 years ago | (#25313187)

Oh yeah? What about the the Pioneer and Voyager probes that we've sent (almost) out of the solar system!?

Relax. The amount of mass is too small to make a real difference. The December 2004 earthquake that caused the Indonesian tsunami released more energy than we've ever produced/harnessed as a race, and consequently moved many orders of magnitude more mass than we will in the foreseeable future. Its effect on Earth's rotation was the barest fraction of a percent.

It's not a telescope... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25312769)

it's a "laser". And we will call it the "Death Star". It will be referred to as the "Alan Parson's Project"

Re:It's not a telescope... (1)

SimonGhent (57578) | more than 5 years ago | (#25313049)

it's a "laser". And we will call it the "Death Star". It will be referred to as the "Alan Parson's Project"

Surely that would be a "Probe"!

Oh, "Parsons", sorry, forget I said anything. ;-)

It's not really that big (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312781)

It just looks big because you're seeing it through a powerful telescope.

It'll never fly. (5, Funny)

DeeVeeAnt (1002953) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312855)

Look, I don't care who you work for sonny, you are not flying with more than 100ml of liquid in your luggage, so hand it over. Bloody astronauts think they are so superior.

Larry Niven (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312901)

talked about making silvered-ice mirrors on the Moon in his 1981 story The Patchwork Girl [fantasticfiction.co.uk] . Not quite liquid, but it would certainly start out that way, and probably at least grossly shaped in the same method. (Figuring and finish would probably be done the traditional way, though.)

And being solid, an ice mirror would be STEERABLE.

Sing our whaling tune (1)

StoatBringer (552938) | more than 5 years ago | (#25312905)

Such a telescope would prove very useful to the Whalers on the Moon when seeking out new hunting-grounds.

Put the telescope 550 AU out (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25313015)

...at the sun's gravitational focus. You'd be able to resolve a planet halfway across the galaxy.

First link I pulled from Google (but there are several others): http://www.centauri-dreams.org/?p=176 [centauri-dreams.org]

Oblig. Futurama Reference (2, Funny)

ari_j (90255) | more than 5 years ago | (#25313151)

Everyone, sing with me:

We're whalers on the moon
We carry a harpoon
But there ain't no whales
So we tell tall tales
And sing a whaling tune

science class (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25313181)

most of what i am reading is totally uninformed. most of the presented problems can be solved by middle schoolers. let me communicate to the masses in a way you can understand.....with a southpark quote: "Well help yourself to a fukin' science book, cause you're talking like a fukin' retard"

half of these comments with "potential problems" look like they came from someone who has never even heard of a science class. and also, pink floyd does indeed rock.

Finally, water on the moon! (1)

Cur8or (1220818) | more than 5 years ago | (#25313279)

If one little thing goes wrong and they spill that water, the dark side of the moon will be a muddy place for ever and ever. You want that responsibility?
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