“Hey, if our eyes could access the infrared part of the light spectrum, the sky would be green and trees would be red. Some animals see in completely different ways, so who knows what colors look like to them. Nothing is really how we perceive it.” -Wendy Mass
If you take a look at the James Webb Space Telescope, the most visually striking feature of all is the gold mirrors. Yet gold would make an absolutely terrible material for constructing these mirrors! For very sound scientific reasons, the vast majority of these mirrors are made out of beryllium, not gold, and gold doesn’t even enter the equation until after the first and second polishings.
But gold is a fantastic material for reflecting infrared light, and so getting a uniformly thick gold coating on these mirrors in imperative. When all is said and done, a surface area of 25 square meters — the equivalent of 269 square feet — must be coated in this thin gold coating, which itself must be protected from the environment.