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For years, Chen had been working with carbon-fiber composite materials to produce high-quality telescope mirrors. But Chen and his colleagues decided to try an experiment. They substituted carbon nanotubes (tiny tubular structures made of pure carbon) for the carbon-fiber composites. When they mixed small amounts of carbon nanotubes and epoxies (glue-like materials) with crushed rock that has the same composition and grain size as lunar dust, they discovered to their surprise that they had created a very strong material with the consistency of concrete. This material can be used instead of glass to make mirrors.