The mirror, a perfect hexagon of gunmetal gray, stands vertically on a low platform. It is about two inches thick and more than four feet wide, a precisely carved slab of beryllium that gleams in the low light of this optics laboratory near San Francisco Bay. My guide, chief engineer Jay Daniel, watches my footing as I step gingerly in front of the mirror to see my reflection. “It’s like your bathroom mirror,” Daniel says, chuckling.