James Webb Space Telescope’s 18th and final mirror was installed, which marks a significant moment in bringing the powerful telescope closer to being ready for space.
- The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will replace the Hubble Space Telescope
- The JWST will reportedly look into the “unexplored near-infrared” spectrum
- The telescope has 18 mirrors, each around 4.3 feet across, at 88 pounds
- The launch date currently seems to be 2018
NASA’s engineers managed to put the last hexagonal mirror in place. And, with it, bring the project closer to completion before the highly-anticipated launch to come in the next two years. It will be an exciting moment, as the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) might be ready to replace the Hubble Space Telescope, follow in its footsteps, and hopefully bring even better results.
According to scientists, the new piece of tech will be 100 times stronger than the long lasting space titan that has been aiding the scientific community in crucial discoveries. It is a veritable “time machine”, as it will allow scientists to look back into the origins of the universe and delve deeper into its creation. The telescope will provide exceptional information about our Solar System and far beyond it.
NASA has been working on the JWST for the past decade, designing and creating such a beautiful piece of technology that is loosely the size of a tennis court. Each of the eighteen mirrors will serve as one once the telescope is in orbit, and allow scientists access to valuable information. In fact, the hexagon-shaped segments have been trimmed to near perfection.
The main difference between the JWST and Hubble Space Telescope will be their performance. They have been shaped and designed to study the unexplored part of the infrared spectrum. That means that new information will become accessible. As stated by Harvey Moseley, a NASA astrophysicist, cosmology is one of the few things where one can actually see history just by looking at it. And that is where the JWST will prove its prowess.
Each of the hexagonal mirrors is around 4.2 feet (1.3 meters) across and weights around 88 pounds (40 kilograms). Once the telescope is up in orbit, they will all unfold and work together as one giant 21.3 feet long (6.5 meter) mirror, gazing out into the universe. It will be a portal for humanity into the depths of the unknown.
According to Lee Feinberg from the Goddard Space Flight Center, the installation of the eighteenth and final mirror is “a very significant milestone”. However, now comes another important step: preparing it to remain intact after a rocket launch.
Bill Ochs, the project manager on the JWST, stated that they will now have to install other optics and proceed to further test other components. The telescope is set to launch in 2018 from the French Guiana, and, so far, all has gone according to the plan.
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