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 Thin films from Braunschweig on the way to Mercury
19.10.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Schicht- und Oberflächentechnik IST

nachricht Extremely close look at electron advances frontiers in particle physics
19.10.2018 | National Science Foundation

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: Goodbye, silicon? On the way to new electronic materials with metal-organic networks

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz (Germany) together with scientists from Dresden, Leipzig, Sofia (Bulgaria) and Madrid (Spain) have now developed and characterized a novel, metal-organic material which displays electrical properties mimicking those of highly crystalline silicon. The material which can easily be fabricated at room temperature could serve as a replacement for expensive conventional inorganic materials used in optoelectronics.

Silicon, a so called semiconductor, is currently widely employed for the development of components such as solar cells, LEDs or computer chips. High purity...

Im Focus: Storage & Transport of highly volatile Gases made safer & cheaper by the use of “Kinetic Trapping"

Augsburg chemists present a new technology for compressing, storing and transporting highly volatile gases in porous frameworks/New prospects for gas-powered vehicles

Storage of highly volatile gases has always been a major technological challenge, not least for use in the automotive sector, for, for example, methane or...

Im Focus: Disrupting crystalline order to restore superfluidity

When we put water in a freezer, water molecules crystallize and form ice. This change from one phase of matter to another is called a phase transition. While this transition, and countless others that occur in nature, typically takes place at the same fixed conditions, such as the freezing point, one can ask how it can be influenced in a controlled way.

We are all familiar with such control of the freezing transition, as it is an essential ingredient in the art of making a sorbet or a slushy. To make a cold...

Im Focus: Micro energy harvesters for the Internet of Things

Fraunhofer IWS Dresden scientists print electronic layers with polymer ink

Thin organic layers provide machines and equipment with new functions. They enable, for example, tiny energy recuperators. In future, these will be installed...

Im Focus: Dynamik einzelner Proteine

Neue Messmethode erlaubt es Forschenden, die Bewegung von Molekülen lange und genau zu verfolgen

Das Zusammenspiel aus Struktur und Dynamik bestimmt die Funktion von Proteinen, den molekularen Werkzeugen der Zelle. Durch Fortschritte in der...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Conference to pave the way for new therapies

17.10.2018 | Event News

Berlin5GWeek: Private industrial networks and temporary 5G connectivity islands

16.10.2018 | Event News

5th International Conference on Cellular Materials (CellMAT), Scientific Programme online

02.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nanocages in the lab and in the computer: how DNA-based dendrimers transport nanoparticles

19.10.2018 | Life Sciences

Thin films from Braunschweig on the way to Mercury

19.10.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

App-App-Hooray! - Innovative Kits for AR Applications

19.10.2018 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>