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

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: New proton record: Researchers measure magnetic moment with greatest possible precision

High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons

The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

IceCube experiment finds Earth can block high-energy particles from nuclear reactions

24.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 'half-hearted' solution to one-sided heart failure

24.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

Heidelberg Researchers Study Unique Underwater Stalactites

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>