GAIA Mirrors to map the Milky Way
GAIA is a flagship ESA mission that aims at creating a precise three-dimensional map of about one billion stars throughout our galaxy and beyond.
This mission already generated a wealth of data that is used by scientist to reconstruct the struture and history of our galaxy. The key asset of Gaia is its capability to determine with a very high precision the location and velocity of stars thanks to very high precision instruments.
The GAIA imaging system is based on two telescopes with a folded three mirror anastigmat configuration.
The contract for grinding, polishing and figuring the M2, M4 and M5 mirrors of both telescopes was awarded to AMOS. M4 and M5 are flat folding mirrors; M2 is a convex aspherical mirror.
All the mirrors are made from Silicon Carbide, a hard but lightweight material well suited for such highly demanding science applictaions.