What do the Oscars and NASA have in common?

Science
What do the Oscars and NASA have in common? PHOTOGRAPH: NASA |

The much-coveted Oscar trophy is plated with the same gold that is coating NASA’s telescopes which the agency used in exploring life beyond Earth. The gold is made by Epner Technology, a Brooklyn-based family business that boasts of decades of experience in the specification plating industry.

Epner has been gold-plating NASA spacecraft components since the 1970’s with its process called the LaserGold. NASA had been instrumental in the development and enhancement of the LaserGold since the two entities started working together at the time.

On the other hand, another trophy manufacturer had been casting the Oscars trophy for more than three decades. While the statue produced during this period shone, the coating easily wore off.

So, in 2016, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences sought the help of Epner Technology to coat the statue with its LaserGold technology. The partnership materialized for the recently concluded 90th Academy Awards.

The partnership has become a milestone both for the Academy and Epner. It was the first time in 30 years that the much-coveted gold statue was produced by a new team.

“They were awestruck that we were going to give them a gold that had been in space for 30, 35 years,” Epner Technology said in a press release from NASA. The company stated that it has one goal in mind when the Academy approached them: to guarantee that its gold coating will never come off. The company had even offered a lifetime guarantee to replace for free any Oscars trophy which are starting to show wear.

Epner Technology boasts of a high-tech engineering process and world class infrared reflective coating. The company is composed of forty employees headed by three chemical engineers and one PhD chemist running the company’s laboratory.

The company also has clients consisting of the major players in the industry. In the medical field, Epner coated light pipes for Braun ear thermometers and for a turning mirror on the end of a catheter used to laser-ablate enlarged prostates. Epner also plates for infrared mirror on missile guidance systems and an infrared jammer on Apache and Cobra helicopters. Epner is also working with a big name in jewellery design which is known for its gold-plated lace.