Liquid Mirror for Lunar Telescope is Made of "Ugly Ions"

What you are looking at is a mirror made of ionic liquid, infrared-reflecting silver nanoparticles mixed with a "highly viscous salty liquid called imidazolium ethylsulphate" or Bob for his closest friends. It's going to be used for the Lunar Liquid Mirror Telescope, something that wasn't possible until now for several reasons.

Current liquid mirrors are made of mercury that rotate in gravity field. They are cheaper than traditional mirrors but they can't work in the moon. First, because it freezes at -38º C while the moon goes down to 147º C. But then, this doesn't even matter because "the density of mercury means it's just too heavy to get enough of it there anyway," according to Ken Seddon, a chemistry expert at Queen's University in Belfast, who is also the one that refers to the components of Bob as "ugly ions."


The new material freezes at -98 º C and is lighter. Seddon wants to lower the freeze point 50 degrees and "improve the infrared reflectivity" before the NASA and the Canadian Space Agency can get their hands on it for the lunar telescope, which is supposed to be established by 2018.

Liquid mirror could be used for Moon-based telescope [New Scientist]

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