The massive James Webb Space Telescope, which will be launched from Guyana in October 2021 to study the far reaches of the universe, has passed a final litmus test, according to the paper, by successfully deploying its mirror for the last time on Earth.
NASA is an acronym for National Aeronautics and
Since this mirror is too large to fit within a rocket (it measures 6.5 meters in diameter), the engineers devised a mechanism that enables it to unfold like origami.
It will be in space the next time this perilous maneuver is performed.
The telescope must then be transported by boat from the United States to Guyana, where it will be launched by an Ariane rocket.
“It’s like preparing a 12 meter high, 25 meter long, and 12 meter wide Swiss watch for a journey into a vacuum at -240 degrees Celsius,” Scott said at a press conference.
Willoughby, a division of Northrop Grumman, is the main manufacturer.
The telescope will be positioned 1.5 million kilometers from Earth in an orbit around the Sun.
Hubble, a space telescope that was launched in 1990 and is still operational, orbits the blue planet 600 kilometers away.
“Webb wasn’t just designed to do what Hubble does best,” said NASA’s Space Telescope Science Institute scientist Klaus Pontoppidan.
It was also designed to provide answers to questions about the universe and its history that we couldn’t get any other way.
For the telescope’s first year of operation, an observation program has already been developed.
A total of over 1,000 proposals were submitted by scientists from 44 countries, with just under 300 being chosen by a research committee.
Observation of distant exoplanets – that is, planets outside our solar system – is one of them.
device – a telescope that can measure the composition of the atmosphere, for example, in search of water or CO2. “In other words, looking into the atmospheres of worlds that could have life,” said Eric Smith, NASA’s technical lead on the mission. Webb will delve into every aspect of our universe’s history. ”
The telescope, which was first conceived in the 1990s and was supposed to be deployed in the 2000s, was repeatedly postponed due to numerous development issues, resulting in a cost explosion of about $10 billion.