By successfully deploying the primary mirror of its James Webb Space Telescope, NASA is now a step closer in launching the world’s premier space science observatory.
Adding another milestone to its space project, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has now fully installed its primary mirror for the first time. The COVID-19 pandemic had earlier halted the work of NASA team, thereby causing a delay in the launch of the telescope. But with the successful deployment of its James Webb Space Telescope, the team of NASA has given every science enthusiast something to cheer about.
Highlights! James Webb Space Telescope gets a step closer in creating history.
- NASA adds another feather in its illustrious history.
- How will the JWST aid science?
- Is JWST NASA’s one of the biggest achievements to date?
NASA adds another feather to its cap
In one of the recent tests, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope fully developed its primary mirror into the same configuration that it will have in space.
As per the test, the telescope was able to extend and unfold successfully covering its entire length of 21 feet-4 inch (6.5 meters) primary mirror.
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST or Webb) is planned to be a successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. It will possess the largest mirror of its kind built by NASA. The telescope is currently placed in an observatory in a clean-room at Northrop Grumman Space Systems in Redondo Beach, California.
As a part of the test, the mirror of Webb was hinged to specialized gravity-offsetting equipment which simulated the zero-gravity environment of space.
NASA also confirmed that its engineers and technicians will deploy the mirror only once more on the ground before it’s shipped off to the launch site.
How will JWST aid science?
The James Webb Space Telescope will be a next generation instrument tested to be future-proof. The JWST will be the largest, most powerful and complex telescope ever built and launched into the space. According to NASA, the JWST will fundamentally change our understanding of the universe.
The sensitivity of a telescope is directly related to the size of its mirror. A larger mirror allows for a larger surface area, and hence captures more light from the objects being observed. As a result, Webb’s large mirrors will make it the most powerful telescope ever built.
Due to the large size of the mirror, it can’t fit inside a rocket when fully extended. Hence, the mirror needs to be folded up to transport it to its final destination.
NASA’s biggest achievement to date
The success of the project thrilled the scientists and team members of NASA. The team is now eagerly waiting for the final installation of the telescope. The project will be the one of the biggest achievements of NASA.
“This is a great achievement and an inspiring image for the entire team.” – Lee Feinberg, Optical Telescope Element Manager, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
When it launches in 2021, the James Webb Space Telescope will become the world’s premier space science observatory. Webb will solve mysteries of our solar system, look beyond to distant worlds, and probe the origins of our universe. The JWST is an international project led by NASA along with its partners, European Space Agency (ESA) and Canadian Space Agency (CSA).