NASA Telescope Oscar Trophy Tech Attracts Stars

first_img The National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are not that different.Both attract hordes of viewers for star-studded events. And both use the same gold to coat telescopes and trophies, respectively.Gold is particularly useful in space, where it reflects infrared wavelengths of light and won’t tarnish—ideal for blocking absorption of radiant heat. (Plus, it’s super shiny!)AdChoices广告Which is why the James Webb Space Telescope team chose the chemical element to coat a 32-foot refrigerant tube that cools the Mid-Infrared Instrument, or MIRI.But such high-tech equipment requires more than the common vapor deposit method—heating metal in a vacuum until it becomes a gas, which condenses in a thin layer across a surface.The process is effective, according to NASA, but has drawbacks: The gold loses some reflectivity, becomes extremely delicate, and can peel off when bent; those flakes can interfere with sensitive instruments.So, the telescope’s designers turned to Brooklyn-based Epner Technology, which alleges its gold would never flake off. Hesitant, the Goddard Space Flight Center made them prove their claim.“And they did,” Goddard engineer John Gygax said in a statement.The company also boasted a significantly more reflective gold plating, created using an electroplating process it calls LaserGold. The result is a harder and more reflective coating than vapor-deposited gold.Gold is highly reflective and doesn’t tarnish—great for the James Webb Space Telescope’s main mirror (via NASA)NASA isn’t their only famous client, though. In 2016, Epner snagged the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, reportedly “awestruck” that Epner Technology could provide a plating technique used in space for 35 years, company president David Epner recalled.For more than three decades, a trophy manufacturer cast Oscars in a tin allow and then plated them with gold. They shone alright, but the coating eventually wore off.“We guaranteed that our gold coating will never come off,” Epner said.The firm has even offered a lifetime guarantee to replate—for free—any Oscar that shows wear.“That’s something I’ll never have to make good on,” Epner added. Stay on target Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.center_img Australian Finds ‘Monster’ $69,000 Gold Nugget With Metal DetectorLego Sets Might Be Better Investments Than Gold last_img