How NASA space tech has made it to Oscars
The company that takes credit for the shine in the coveted Oscar trophy is using a gold coating technology that NASA has helped it improve, the US...
Los Angeles: The company that takes credit for the shine in the coveted Oscar trophy is using a gold coating technology that NASA has helped it improve, the US space agency has said. "Our telescopes and the #Oscars trophies are both plated with the same gold!" NASA said in a tweet on Sunday. Brooklyn-based Epner Technology has been using the improved technique for its varied commercial clients, NASA said in a statement released over the weekend.
In 2016, Epner's reputation for durable and brilliant gold coatings, built in part through its many years working for NASA, brought a new client -- the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Academy was awestruck that Epner Technology was giving them a plating technique that had been used for gold in space for 30, 35 years, company president David Epner said.
For more than three decades, a trophy manufacturer had been casting the Oscars in a tin alloy and then plated them with gold. They shone -- but the coating wore off. "We guaranteed that our gold coating will never come off," Epner said. In fact, Epner offered a lifetime guarantee to replate, for free, any Oscar that starts to show wear. "That's something I'll never have to make good on," he said.
The Oscar trophy is coated in the same gold that helps telescopes glimpse distant galaxies, NASA said. Gold is useful in space, because it is good at reflecting infrared wavelengths of light, which help to detect celestial objects from very far away. "Gold is really inert. It doesn't oxidise at all," said Jim Tuttle of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. That means it would not tarnish. Epner Technology has been working with NASA since the 1970s and perfected its electroplating technique doing aerospace work in the 1990s.