December 25th has recently marked a historic moment in space exploration. After several delays, the NASA On this day finally send the largest observation tool in its history. With the James Webb Space Telescope In the future, discoveries in space that researchers could only dream of should be possible in the future. Until then, however, a lot can still go wrong.
James Webb Space Telescope: That’s the NASA Project
A series of memes on Twitter showed that the scientists involved in the “James Webb Space Telescope” (JWST) project were under great stress, especially until the start. Numerous posts were written under the hashtag #JWSTLaunchMemes that documented the level of tension.
In the meantime, the JWST has been successfully launched into space – the launch was planned for 2007, by the way. Now, however, according to Günther Hasinger, Director of Science at ESA (European Space Agency), the so-called “29 Days of Terror” are coming up.
“That’s how long it takes for the more than 300 individual moving parts and more than 50 mechanisms of the telescope to unfold automatically. Every step has to work one hundred percent, we cannot afford to make mistakes. ”
Günther Hasinger, ESA Director of Science
Apparently not even NASA expected that
What seems to surprise even NASA in view of this unsettled period, as The Atlantic reports, is the smooth running of the 10 billion US dollar mission “James Webb Space Telescope” so far.
For the US space agency, this is the most complex and demanding mission that can continue to go wrong in hundreds of different ways. For example, should an important part get stuck, NASA would have to put up with giving up the brand new telescope. No wonder that those responsible have checked data continuously and repeatedly over the past few weeks as soon as a new mechanism came into force.
The latest milestone showed how well everything has worked so far: the James Webb Space Telescope was able to fold out its secondary mirror, and fully. How the project will develop remains to be seen.
In total, the JWST has to travel 1.5 million kilometers before it has reached its final position. But then it can look further than it has ever been possible for humans.
Sources: The Atlantic, Der Standard