Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

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

 
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10 2022, @04:12PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 10 2022, @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 2022, @04:56PM

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday January 10 2022, @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.