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Comment Lunar mirror fab means big manufacturing changes (Score 3, Interesting) 135

Astronomical telescope mirror manufacturing is a labor intensive, hands-on, non-automated process. And the culture of aerospace is highly risk averse: this comes from the very customers, like the good people at NASA Goddard.

Lunar telescope manufacturing would require some exciting scientific, engineer, and processing improvements that would also pay off for terrestrial manufacturing.

First, assuming they're not planning to house and employ a standard aerospace company, with 1000 engineers, technicians, and managers on the moon, this would be fully automated. Mirror making is anything but automated. The development of highly automated methods for processing and testing mirrors would be quite a move forward. It would also have direct benefits for conventional manufacturing.

Second, making a mirror on the moon would seem to require a tolerance of risk currently not accepted. Every time a mirror is moved, a crew of people must oversee the affair, sign the (physical) paperwork, and manually inspect the mirror afterwards. For lunar construction, this would have to become an assembly line that ran without that direct oversight, paperwork, or crews. Enabling more efficient methods would certainly benefit normal processes as well.

Moreover, the task of creating such a facility would keep many, many aerospace workers employed for years :)

Submission + - Someone In Congress Actually Understands Mixtapes!

An anonymous reader writes: Most of us (for pretty good reasons!) have come to assume that our Congressional representatives are pretty far out of touch when it comes to things like technology and culture, but it's nice to see that at least one Congressman seems to understand that mixtapes and mashups aren't such a bad thing. Techdirt has the transcript of Rep. Mike Doyle's speech, which talks about the benefits of mixtapes, while wondering about why DJ Drama was arrested: "I hope that everyone involved will take a step back and ask themselves if mash-ups and mix-tapes are really different or if it's the same as Paul McCartney admitting that he nicked the Chuck Berry bass-riff and used it on the Beatle's hit 'I Saw Her Standing There.' Maybe it is. And, maybe Drama violated some clear bright lines. Or, maybe mixtapes are a powerful tool. And, maybe mash-ups are transformative new art that expands the consumers experience and doesn't compete with what an artist has made available on iTunes or at the CD store. And, I don't think Sir Paul asked for permission to borrow that bass line, but every time I listen to that song, I'm a little better off for him having done so...."

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