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posted by janrinok on Sunday January 09 2022, @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: 3, Interesting) by PiMuNu on Monday January 10 2022, @10:30AM (3 children)

    by PiMuNu (3823) Subscriber Badge on Monday January 10 2022, @10:30AM (#1211465)

    Agreed, money is nothing. The main cost is in effort.

    https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/webb/team/index.html [nasa.gov]

    ... 1,000 people in more than 17 countries are developing the James Webb Space Telescope. In project-ese there is a concept of "Standing army cost" i.e. while folks are waiting for the JWST to pass tests/etc they are doing less productive work.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10 2022, @04:19PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10 2022, @04:19PM (#1211519)

    Put it in more simple terms. At work, there are dozens of employees doing a bunch of busy bullshit. One or two are capable of producing new ideas. Oh sure, everyone thinks they can but almost nobody can. However slowly these people work, that's the maximum rate of idea production at work. You can slow it down (with EDI training, for example, or compulsory progress reports in triplicate to meet the high standards of middle management) but without them 1000 years will pass without progress. Doubt me? Let me introduce history to you.

    • (Score: 2) by PiMuNu on Tuesday January 11 2022, @11:59AM

      by PiMuNu (3823) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday January 11 2022, @11:59AM (#1211739)

      Actually that's not really what I meant, although it may be true. Of course, I am one of the productive ones so I am happy to agree (sarcasm).

      Examples of what I really meant:-
      * on an experiment where I worked, we were waiting for some delayed equipment to be built and spent lots of time simulating the real experiment and doing simulated data analysis. It was mostly useless time, we would have been better off if the equipment had arrived on time and we could just do the experiment. (This is something like "standing army costs" in project management jargon).
      * as others have pointed out, JWST is not much of an upgrade (maybe I don't agree). So those 1000 people could have built 10 satellites that were almost as good, or maybe better, in the same time. What would have been the better investment of time?

    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday January 11 2022, @04:37PM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday January 11 2022, @04:37PM (#1211807) Journal

      One or two are capable of producing new ideas. Oh sure, everyone thinks they can but almost nobody can.

      A huge thing missing from your cool story, bro, is that you can put your thumb on the scale. One or two might be capable, but you can increase that number by enable and educating more such people. You can also decrease that number by throwing them on a bunch of makework while they wait on the JWST to launch.