NASA researchers claim they've developed a way to create a concrete-like substance, necessary for the production of space telescopes, out of Moon dust. The compound mixes the aforementioned Moon dust with carbon tubes and epoxy to create a dish, which is then coated in aluminium. The researchers have built a 30cm dish using this technique with a moon dust subsitute, but they claim they can create ones between 20-50 metres that would fill entire craters. This claim, however, has its share of detractors.
Daniel Fabricant, an astrophysicist for the Harvard-Smithsonian centre thinks that the precision (a fraction of a wavelength of light) required for a telescope of that stature would pose a sizable challenge in making one that large. He also thinks it would be really, really, really expensive. But the leader of NASA's team, Peter Chen, claims that without Moon dust and on-site manufacturing, it would be impossible to get telescopes to the moon.
According to Chen, making a telescope equivalent in size to the Hubble (2.4 metres) on the Moon would require 590 kgs of Moon dust, 59 kgs of epoxy, 5.9kg pounds of carbon nanotubes and under a gram of aluminium. Now if we could turn those telescopes into lasers and get a little pew pew, we'd be set. [New Scientist]