The James Webb Space Telescope is closer to completion with the 18th primary mirror segment being installed on February 3rd.
The technical team working relentlessly on the largest space telescope ever designed has plenty of reason to celebrate. The 18th primary mirror segment is the last to be installed on the James Webb Telescope. Until the 2018 deadline set for the space telescope’s launch, a few more details need to be set in place. The 8.8 billion dollars project is finally shaping up.
The associate administrator with NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, John Grunsfeld stated that the nearly perfect mirrors being installed are a success for the engineering and scientific team behind the James Webb Space Telescope. Once completed, the space telescope will work to discover:
“hidden realms of planetary atmospheres, star forming regions and the very beginnings of the universe”.
When the James Webb Space Telescope is completed, it will replace the infamous Hubble Space Telescope. Despite its outstanding performance, the Hubble Space Telescope is an older technology generation. The new space telescope sports a larger light-collecting surface. As the 18th primary mirror segment was installed, the primary mirror surface of the James Webb Space Telescope is now 21.3 feet.
Each of the mirror segments featuring on the space telescope weighs 88 pounds. Their installation required the help of a robotic arm according to the technical team with the Goddard Space Flight Center.
The James Webb Space Telescope is closer to completion. With the mirror surface phase completed, more optics elements will follow. Afterwards, according to Bill Ochs, the project manager of the James Webb Space Telescope, the testing phase is bound to start.
Hubble Space Telescope captured images in visible light. The new space telescope will work at longer infrared wavelengths which can peek through dense dust clouds. This means that wider swaths of the universe will come under scrutiny. It’s an exciting time for science. Deeper insight into the formation of galaxies, systems and planets is certain to be brought to the table.
The James Webb Space Telescope is closer to completion as the primary mirror surface is complete. Harris Corp. will be installing both the aft-optics assembly as well as the secondary mirror surface.
The Integrated Science Instrument Module which is deemed the heart of the James Webb Space Telescope is among the final touches. Tests will be conducted at the Goddard Space Center after which the space telescope will be carried to the Johnson Space Center for final testing.
Photo Credits: Wikimedia