THE NASA announced this Wednesday, June 8th, that one of the mirrors of the James Webb Space Telescope got hit by some micrometeorites. The most recent — and severe — impact took place between May 23 and 25. Fortunately, the telescope it continues to work extremely well and you will not experience any problems in capturing images.
“Catch yourself in the eye, boy!”
micrometeorites are the smallest meteors that you can imagine. They measure the same as a grain of sand and travel much faster than a formula car. MUCH FASTER. If falling on the sand already leaves you scratched, imagine a little grain hitting you at a speed of thousands of kilometers per hour. Fortunately, the JWST it is made to withstand these impacts for a long time. But the clash with micrometeorites will reduce their performance over the years — and that’s to be expected.
THE NASA revealed that the five impacts suffered so far have not reduced the operational capacity of the James Webb (which remember: it cost $10 billion). O micrometeorite which caused the most severe impact affected the C3 segment (see below) of the main mirror and “punched” the team’s predictions about the instrument’s degradation time. Still, it’s a support. JWST will continue its operation for many years. It’s designed with a high performance margin to ensure a lasting mission.
James Webb: Years from Production to Release
the project of James Webb telescope was developed by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in conjunction with the European and Canadian space agencies. Initially, it was expected to be launched in 2007. But some problems delayed the launch of the model, one of them was the high cost of production of the James Webb telescope, which was increasing more and more and, still in 2005, made the engineers rethink the original design.
In 2016 the telescope was declared ready, but again its project was put on hold due to construction complications and stayed that way until 2019, when it was finally assembled. However, due to the pandemic caused by COVID-19, more delays happened until the NASA finally set December 18, 2021 for release.
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Through it, researchers will be able to observe even more things from space, being able to see some of the oldest galaxies in the universe and other celestial bodies, such as black holes.
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