I was browsing NASA featured items and came across this - Out With the Old, In With the New: Telescope Mirrors Get New Shape
Called freeform optics, this emerging mirror technology, brought about by advances in computer-controlled fabrication and testing, has triggered a sea change in optical engineering... the technology holds great promise for scientists who want to develop compact telescopes for CubeSat and other small satellites — an increasingly popular and cost-effective alternative to more traditional missions that are more expensive to build and launch.
Telescopes for cubesats?!
The article had this illustration, and I'm trying to figure out how that is converted into a clear image without distortions, and why they say it allows the telescope to be much more compact.
It was a short article that didn't even try to explain this, and when I went looking for other articles on the topic for non-experts I found zip. Perhaps this is very challenging to explain, but I thought I'd ask anyhow. I told an enthusiastic youth just a few weeks ago that it wasn't possible to launch a telescope capable of anything useful on a cubesat. Oops...