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posted by janrinok on Sunday January 09, @11:46PM   Printer-friendly
from the cool! dept.

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope Successfully Unfolds its Massive Mirror

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope successfully unfolds its massive mirror:

The team behind the recently launched James Webb Space Telescope successfully finished unfolding the instrument's distinctive golden mirror on Saturday, meaning the telescope is now fully deployed and is one step closer to sending back data about the universe's first galaxies.

"The successful completion of all of the Webb Space Telescope's deployments is historic," Webb's program director at NASA Headquarters, Gregory L. Robinson, said in a release. "This is the first time a NASA-led mission has ever attempted to complete a complex sequence to unfold an observatory in space – a remarkable feat for our team, NASA, and the world."

NASA and its partners, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency, began remotely unfolding the two wings of Webb's primary mirror on Friday and completed the task at about 10:15 a.m. PT Saturday, when the second wing latched into place.

Over the next six months, Webb is set to travel 1 million miles from Earth and begin sending back images of the universe that promise to serve up a new, unfiltered story of the cosmos. Not only will Webb teach us about hidden regions of space, it also has the power to prove whether we've correctly documented the events that happened right after the Big Bang.

Remarkably, NASA Has Completed Deployment of the Webb Space Telescope

Remarkably, NASA has completed deployment of the Webb space telescope:

But now that ultra complex heat shield is working. The temperature on the Sun-facing side of the telescope is 55 degrees Celsius [(131 °F)], or a very, very, very hot day in the Sahara desert . And already, the science instruments on the back side of the sunshield have cooled to -199 degrees Celsius[(-326.2 °F)], a temperature at which nitrogen is a liquid. They will yet cool further.

Work remains, of course. Webb still must traverse about 370,000 km to reach an orbit around a stable Lagrange point, L2. Scientists and engineers must check out and align the 18 primary mirror segments. Scientific instruments must be calibrated. But all of this work is somewhat more routine when it comes to science spacecraft. There are risks, to be sure, but these are mostly known risks.

We can therefore be reasonably confident now that Webb will, in fact, begin to make science observations this summer. We should, truly, be in awe.


Original Submission #1Original Submission #2

 
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  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by khallow on Monday January 10, @03:11AM (16 children)

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday January 10, @03:11AM (#1211393) Journal

    Knowledge of the universe, however, is priceless. That means, worth it no matter what the cost, because money is only money. And, an actual space telescope, no matter how late or over-budget, is much more valuable than all the ones that have not been funded, built, or launched.

    So why not fund me, say a trillion dollars a year, to do that priceless knowledge? I'm pretty sure, I can find new priceless knowledge with a few million dollars and the rest of that money, which is nothing, can be redirected more productively to the khallow pampering fund, which is something for me.

    The obvious rebuttal to your whole post is opportunity cost. Even if money is nothing, there are research strategies that can give you a whole lot more research than others. When one burns $10 billion on a moderately better telescope, that's a huge loss for all the other research they could have done with the money (including merely spending much less for the JWST and putting the savings in other space research).

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10, @04:02AM (11 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10, @04:02AM (#1211404)

    Yes, but when you've been senile for 2000 years you can afford to take the long view and just wait for debts to be Zimbabwed into oblivion.

    • (Score: -1, Troll) by aristarchus on Monday January 10, @06:08AM (10 children)

      by aristarchus (2645) on Monday January 10, @06:08AM (#1211431) Journal

      Opportunity cost is a very stupid, Republican neo-liberal economic argument. There is no opportunity cost, if nothing besides JWST was funded. Yes, of course, coulda, woulda, if not for the resistance of people who think money is a real thing and is a reflection of their Identity (non-Black), but none of that is true, and khallow has re-ified capital really bad, in the Marxist sense. Which of course he does not understand.

      2400 years, more or less, and with each I am more amazed at the stupidity of the average human conservative. In classical China we called them 小人, small or petty people, only concerned with profit. Egoists, selfish bastards, Americans, or more properly, American Republicans. You may think it is my discernment that is degrading, but rest assured, I have the higher perspective.

      --
      #Freearistarchus, again!!!!!1!!
      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by khallow on Monday January 10, @06:49AM (4 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday January 10, @06:49AM (#1211442) Journal

        Opportunity cost is a very stupid, Republican neo-liberal economic argument.

        It whips your argument soundly - that informs me that your argument was worse than very stupid.

        There is no opportunity cost, if nothing besides JWST was funded.

        "If". There's similarly then no opportunity cost, if nothing besides a little token research and the glorious khallow pampering fund are funded. You have to acknowledge that choice exists first before you can understand the point of opportunity cost. Economics fundamentally is about the value (as we perceive it) of the choices we make. If we refuse to acknowledge such choices, we end up accepting very horrendous decisions like the present course of the JWST.

        • (Score: -1, Troll) by aristarchus on Monday January 10, @06:56AM (3 children)

          by aristarchus (2645) on Monday January 10, @06:56AM (#1211443) Journal

          Stick to small-scale earth-moving equipment, khallow, it is more your "speed".

          --
          #Freearistarchus, again!!!!!1!!
          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday January 10, @06:58AM (2 children)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday January 10, @06:58AM (#1211444) Journal
            And yet I'm not the one with the cognitive dissonance and the treadless arguments.
            • (Score: 0, Troll) by aristarchus on Monday January 10, @08:05AM (1 child)

              by aristarchus (2645) on Monday January 10, @08:05AM (#1211456) Journal

              Are you so sure? Certainly your backhoes are treadless, at least the ones you offered for rental to me!

              --
              #Freearistarchus, again!!!!!1!!
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10, @11:00AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10, @11:00AM (#1211473)
        There's always an opportunity cost, always has been, in everything humans do. Do we stay in one place, or do we explore beyond the local horizons in the hope of better farmland, a more stable water supply? Do we eat all our corn now or do we save some to plant next year? Do we get an education or go straight into the work force, or do both over a longer period? Do we eat the same diet every day or do we try something different once in a while, maybe finding something new and exciting? Think of the first person to eat lobster, or smoked oysters,,or snails in garlic butter.

        r Every choice has a cost in terms of the road not taken. And that's been true long before the first humans existed. It's why many animals adopted migration and others didn't. Each strategy has benefits and costs. Ask the whales. Not exactly homebodies.

        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday January 11, @04:30PM

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday January 11, @04:30PM (#1211802) Journal
          There's a lot of stuff that's always been there - platitudes being a great example in your post.

          My point here is not merely to describe something that's "always been" here, but to show that choosing stuff like the present JWST and its development path are deeply suboptimal - even if you're trying to completely ignore economics and purely consider science to have infinite value. By making common sense choices, you can have a lot more science for the same resources and effort expended.

          It's an interesting bit of cognitive dissonance - scientifically inclined people making unscientific choices.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10, @01:22PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10, @01:22PM (#1211479)

        There is no opportunity cost, if nothing besides JWST was funded.

        That is a very dishonest argument worthy of a GOP leader.

        I pointed out all the other missions that were canceled because of Webb sucking yp money. That means the money that would have been spent on them went instead to Webb. That also means that the science they would have produced is lost. That lost science is an opportunity cost.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10, @04:12PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10, @04:12PM (#1211517)

          It's a bit fucking rich talking about opportunity costs in a civilization that spent 2000 years trying its hardest to believe in a Mystical Sky God and building golden temples to convince the noobs. Then for about 30 seconds, spent a tiny fraction of the military budget on something else with MASSIVE success (relatively speaking), before creaming off all the money again to pay for golden yachts for the new billionaire Gods.

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday January 10, @04:56PM

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday January 10, @04:56PM (#1211532) Journal

            It's a bit fucking rich talking about opportunity costs

            Not at all. The sky god and golden temple stuff is irrelevant.

            before creaming off all the money again to pay for golden yachts for the new billionaire Gods.

            You're free to worship whatever you like. I'm not interested.

            The point here is that if you genuinely think that stuff like JWST is for doing stuff or generating science, then the economic factors, things like opportunity cost, matter a great deal. If you're just making another golden temple and worshiping your own sky god variant, then sure, economics doesn't really matter.

            So what is it? Is the JWST just a temple launched into space to show how virtuous we are? Or are we using that for a real purpose? If it's the latter, you have to consider the opportunity costs - what $10 billion could have been used for rather than just cheer on another white elephant.

  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Mockingbird on Tuesday January 11, @06:21AM (3 children)

    by Mockingbird (15239) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday January 11, @06:21AM (#1211723) Journal

    So why not fund me, say a trillion dollars a year, to do that priceless knowledge? I'm pretty sure, I can find new priceless knowledge with a few million dollars and the rest of that money, which is nothing, can be redirected more productively to the khallow pampering fund, which is something for me.

    There are basic entry level competencies to bid, khallow. I am sorry to inform you, in the opinion of the board, that your past publications on SoylentNews, and elsewhere, do not suggest you are capable of doing priceless knowledge. In fact, it seems you are always after priced knowledge, that would allow you to such up the the ultra rich class. Try Blue Orifice instead.

    --
    "It is a sin to kill a mockingbird" Atticus Finch
    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday January 11, @01:50PM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday January 11, @01:50PM (#1211752) Journal

      There are basic entry level competencies to bid

      That box is checked here. I got basic entry level competencies.

      the opinion of the board

      I'm the board. I got this. I just don't have that trillion dollars yet. Why do you hate science?

    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday January 11, @04:35PM (1 child)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday January 11, @04:35PM (#1211806) Journal

      There are basic entry level competencies to bid

      As an aside, ari, you've granted me the game by allowing that some approaches appear more "capable" than others. It's merely a minor detail that approaches with better scientific return over their opportunity costs are more capable.

      • (Score: -1, Troll) by Mockingbird on Thursday January 13, @03:59AM

        by Mockingbird (15239) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 13, @03:59AM (#1212322) Journal

        Ari? We were talking about competencies, khallow. You fail again.

        --
        "It is a sin to kill a mockingbird" Atticus Finch