Adam Savage’s One Day Builds: NASA Retro-Reflector Replica!

Adam makes a replica of one of NASA’s classic lunar experiments: a laser ranging retroreflector left on the Moon that are used for precise measurement of the orbit and orientation of the Moon relative to Earth. It’s a model that makes use of off-the-shelf prisms that mirrors light directly back to its point source, like the mirrors on road markers or bicycles. This replica is of the kind of retroreflector array NASA is sending with current Mars missions. And for this quick build, we see the debut of some tools like the sheet metal nibbler and unibit!

Comments (7)

7 thoughts on “Adam Savage’s One Day Builds: NASA Retro-Reflector Replica!

  1. I think the considerable width of the O-rings really needed to be taken into account on the hole spacing for that to sell itself. Kinda looks more like a plastic DJ light from Party City than a piece of precision equipment :/

  2. Looks a whole lot like what NASA and other space administrations have out in space currently.

  3. Dude, try getting an inexpensive, small glue gun. They heat up fast and work well in tight spaces. They’re small enough so that you can rotate the point against the project severing those ‘tendrils’ that you don’t like. I stopped investing in expensive glue guns and never looked back.

    Also, next time try using a larger clamp and secure the granite plate to the table, and hold the piece by hand. You can rotate it quickly making small marks and get the job done faster.

    One more tidbit… as a woodworker, I discovered that most of the woodworking tools will cut aluminum. That may offer you more options in the future.

    Great build, can’t wait to see what’s next

  4. I remember certain observatories shooting a laser beam at the retroreflectors left on the moon.
    I try and bring this fact up to the “sorry, but we never went to the moon, it was all fake” crowd. But I really don’t care what they think 🙂

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