Episode 9: Not So Heavy Metal

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Duration: 4 minutes, 46 seconds

The primary mirror segments of the Webb telescope, along with its secondary and tertiary mirrors, are not made of glass like most mirrors on Earth. They are made of beryllium, a relatively rare metal that is only mined and processed in one place in the western hemisphere. Behind the Webb's Mary Estacion travels to the West Desert of Utah to take a look at what it takes to extract this unique ore.

"Not So Heavy Metal Video": James Webb Space Telescope's Beryllium Mirrors
Details on the rare metal beryllium, why its properties make it perfect for Webb's mirrors, and the complex process that changes it from raw ore into a precise astronomical tool

Behind the Scenes, Webb Mission


NASA and Mary Estacion (STScI)

Publication: January 13, 2011

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