NASA's Next Telescope
By Brittany Sauser
The mirror segments will have seven degrees of freedom: scientists will be able to tip, tilt, and focus them separately without compromising their ability to act as a single optical device. The software that controls the segments was developed by NASA and Ball Aerospace. To validate its performance, Ball engineers have built a one-sixth-scale optical test bed (left). The mirrors in the test bed are a small-scale version of the real thing.