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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: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10, @03:57PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10, @03:57PM (#1211510)

    Say it after me: research is different.

    If you were talking about producing units on a production line that already existed, then your arguments are valid(ish) but you're still a dick that nobody will want to do business with. For research, you're asking people to come up with things that are not currently possible. Smart people, who you can't replace and whose achievements will last longer than the ancient memory of $1BILLION DOLLARS of fiat cash money.

  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday January 10, @06:32PM (2 children)

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday January 10, @06:32PM (#1211572) Journal

    Say it after me: research is different.

    Not different enough to be relevant.

    then your arguments are valid(ish) but you're still a dick that nobody will want to do business with.

    In other words, we probably shouldn't do business with you, right? They might not want to do business with a demanding customer, but they do want that demanding customer's money. Hence, it happens.

    For research, you're asking people to come up with things that are not currently possible.

    No. Not currently done is not the same as not currently possible.

    Smart people, who you can't replace and whose achievements will last longer than the ancient memory of $1BILLION DOLLARS of fiat cash money.

    Unless, of course, you direct the efforts of those smart people onto a single $10 billion white elephant rather than multiple projects that could have been a lot more achievement. I think you miss the point of accountability.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10, @10:30PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10, @10:30PM (#1211626)

      Unless, of course, you direct the efforts of those smart people onto a single $10 billion white elephant rather than multiple projects that could have been a lot more achievement.

      Your right we could have had more vanity trips to lower orbit with in-flight meals by a renowned chef and full media entertainment package.

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday January 11, @01:58AM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday January 11, @01:58AM (#1211673) Journal

        Your right we could have had more vanity trips to lower orbit with in-flight meals by a renowned chef and full media entertainment package.

        I sense you were trying to be sarcastic. But yes, that would be better. Same thing happened with passenger air travel and automobiles. They used to for the rich as well. Now, they've changed the world vastly for the better. Sorry, JWST just isn't going to have that impact ever.