It’s not a giant penny. This king-size copper disk, manufactured at the
Space Optics Manufacturing and Technology Center at NASA’s Marshall Space
Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., is a special mold for making
high-resolution monitor screens.

Wes Brown, Marshall’s lead diamond turner – an expert in the science of
using diamond-tipped tools to cut metal – uses a magnifying glass to inspect
the mold’s physical characteristics to ensure the uniformity of its more
than 6,000 grooves.

This master mold will be used to make several other molds, each capable of
forming hundreds of screens that have a type of lens called a fresnel.
Weighing much less than conventional optics, fresnel lenses have multiple
concentric grooves, each formed to a precise angle, that together create the
curvature needed to focus and project images.

Marshall is a technology leader for diamond turning. The machine used to
manufacture this mold is among many one-of-a-kind pieces of equipment at
Marshall’s Space Optics Manufacturing and Technology Center.

About Marshall’s Space Optics Manufacturing and Technology Center

Through its Space Optics Manufacturing and Technology Center, the Marshall
Center leads NASA’s space optics manufacturing technology development. With
more than 30 years of experience developing sophisticated optical systems
for space exploration, the Center has developed several of the world’s
largest space-based observatories for NASA, including Skylab’s Apollo
Telescope Mount, the Hubble Space Telescope, and the world’s most powerful
X-ray telescope, the Chandra X-ray Observatory