Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cranfield University reaches for the stars

13.02.2004


Looking into the night sky you may see a few stars and the moon. Astronomers, however, are looking for more than this – they are looking for Earth-like planets, which, with a little help from Cranfield University, they may be able to find.



As part of a four-year collaborative project, Cranfield University professors Paul Shore, Dave Stephenson and John Nicholls, together with Dr David Walker and Dr Peter Doel, both of University College London, and OpTIC Technium, are set to establish a unique UK national facility in North Wales for making large optics.

The project, also involving three industrial partners – Cranfield Precision, Zeeko Ltd and Rapt Industries, has been made possible by a £3.526m grant from the UK Joint Research Council’s Basic Technology Programme.


Professor Shore explained the ambitious project: “Scientists attempting to find Earth-like planets near to far-away stars have their job made more difficult because, unlike stars which are bright, Earth-like planets are not. This makes them harder to see, so the plan is to build extremely large telescopes to try and find them.

“It is here we will be making our mark by developing a new ultra precision processing facility for finishing the optics, or segments as we refer to them, which interlock to produce the extra large telescopic mirrors.

“In precision production engineering terms, the manufacture of these segments for the next generation of large telescope designs is probably the most significant precision engineering challenge we have seen,” said Professor Shore. “The aim is to produce ultra precision surfaces at ten times the accuracy and with ten times greater speed than current state-of-the-art.

“Each partner involved in this project is a key piece of the jigsaw and it is only when we work together as a cohesive team that we can offer the UK the possibility of moving into the market selling segments for such telescopes.”

These telescopes are extremely large indeed and scientists in the US are building one that is 30m in diameter – the size of a tennis court – while the most ambitious telescope design concept is 100m diameter – approaching the size of the new Wembley stadium.

Angelisa Conby | Cranfield University
Further information:
http://www.cranfield.ac.uk/university/press/2004/13022004.cfm

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht SF State astronomer searches for signs of life on Wolf 1061 exoplanet
20.01.2017 | San Francisco State University

nachricht Molecule flash mob
19.01.2017 | Technische Universität Wien

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>