In a blog post published in mid-November, a representative from the United States Aerospace Agency (NASA) said The $10 billion James Webb Telescope has had 14 collisions with space rockscausing irreparable damage.
Illustration of the James Webb telescope in space.
Illustration of the James Webb telescope in space. (Photo: NASA).
“We see 14 times space particles collided with the mirrorg, on average once or twice a month”shared James Webb Mission Chief Engineer Mike Menzel of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
According to Menzel, the damage caused by most collisions is included in NASA’s calculations. A particular case of collision occurred in May, classified “unavoidable random event” which caused James Webb to deviate from his established position.
To resolve this issue, the engineering team adjusted 18 mirrors to match the new position. According to Forbes, the collisions all happened on James Webb’s gold-plated mirrors.
Collisions with microscopic space rocks (micrometeoroids) This is a familiar problem with devices operating in near-Earth orbit. Other risks include cosmic radiation, ultraviolet light and charged particles from the Sun.
Théo Live Science, Space Surveillance Network tracking more than 23,000 pieces of space debris, larger than a softball. However, there are millions of smaller objects that the system cannot observe. Therefore, NASA and space agencies always have plans to handle collision incidents in space.
During James Webb’s development, engineers collided the mirror with objects similar in size to space microparticles to assess their impact on the telescope’s operation.
The May incident was a rare case, but engineers adjusted the position of the mirror to avoid the direction of space microparticles, which can travel at higher speeds.
May collision caused James Webb’s C3 mirror to be dented
A collision in May caused James Webb’s C3 mirror to be damaged. (Photo: NASĄ).
“Space microparticles travel in the opposite direction to the telescope, hitting the mirror with twice the relative velocity and four times the kinetic energy. Therefore, avoiding the direction when possible will help prolong optical efficiency of the telescope.”said Lee Feinberg, director of James Webb’s optical team at NASA,
Another significant risk is meteor showers, which could be dangerous when James Webb passes Halley’s comets in May 2023 and May 2024. Adjustments may change the telescope’s operating schedule, including the order in which objects are observed, thus giving priority to safety rather than scientific urgency.
James Webb has a 6.5 m wide mirror surface, which allows it to collect a lot of light from objects in space. By collecting more light, the telescope can observe more details. This mirror is 60 times larger than previous telescopes
The James Webb Telescope was launched in December 2021 and operated in early July after calibration. James Webb’s main mission is to provide detailed images, helping us better understand the origin of the universe, finding clues to the formation and existence of humans and extraterrestrial life.
Article source: Zing
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In a new blog post published in mid-November, a representative from the United States Aerospace Agency (NASA) said that the $10 billion James Webb Telescope had been hit 14 times…