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NASA James Webb Telescope Fully Deployed; Allows Astronomers To Better Understand Universe
NASA is celebrating a major success as the new year unfolds. The James Webb telescope has finally opened the massive mirror, completing the deployment successfully. The mirror, which measures 6.5 meters, was one of the most difficult parts of the deployment in space, which NASA has succeeded in now.
James Webb Telescope Deployed
The James Webb telescope is the biggest one right now, bigger than the Hubble space telescope. The James Webb telescope is so massive, it had to be folded to fit inside a rocket that was launched into space two weeks ago. The unfolding of the massive telescope was done in phases, all of them having its risks.
NASA recently completed one of the most challenging operations where it unfolded the massive sun shield on the telescope. And now, the mirror has also been unfolded and tucked into its place. To note, the mirror on the James Webb is the largest and most sensitive mirror ever launched into space, which the scientists call the 'golden eye'.
#NASAWebb is fully deployed! 🎉— NASA Webb Telescope (@NASAWebb) January 8, 2022
With the successful deployment & latching of our last mirror wing, that's:
50 major deployments, complete.
178 pins, released.
20+ years of work, realized.
Next to #UnfoldTheUniverse: traveling out to our orbital destination of Lagrange point 2! pic.twitter.com/mDfmlaszzV
The main mirror consists of beryllium, a lightweight yet sturdy and cold-resistant metal. It includes 18 segments shaped hexagonally and coated with an ultra-thin layer of gold making it highly reflective.
"We have a deployed telescope on orbit, a magnificent telescope the likes of which the world has never seen," Thomas Zurbuchen, chief of NASA's science missions said. The final part of the operation was completed in two-and-a-half hours, with the entire team giving their best despite the COVID-19 surge across the world.
James Webb Telescope Functions
The unfolding of the James Webb telescope is a milestone in itself. However, the telescope has a long way to go still. It is expected to reach its final destination 1.6 million kilometers away in the next two weeks. If this goes well, the James Webb telescope will be the most powerful in history.
NASA expected scientific observations to begin in the following months. The James Webb telescope is the key to a lot of upcoming missions. For one, astronomers hope to look back to within 100 million years of the universe-forming Big Bang. The mirror on the James Webb will help astronomers focus on stars, galaxies that might hold signs of life.