Behind the Webb Podcast

  • January 13, 2011

    Episode 9: Not So Heavy Metal

    Download this episode


    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.

    Get the 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. Read the NASA feature article, The "Not So Heavy Metal Video": James Webb Space Telescope's Beryllium Mirrors