The James Webb Space Telescope has opened its tennis court-size sunshield. It is in the process of being stretched tight. This was the riskiest part of this mission.
This telescope is worth $10 billion. This is one of the largest and most powerful astronomical observatories, ever launched by NASA. Scientists have folded its sunshield and primary mirror to fit the telescope inside the European Ariane rocket.
The sunshield is a major instrument
The sunshield is a very important instrument for Webb’s infrared-sensing. The telescope will scan for the first stars and galaxies in the universe. The telescope will search the atmosphere for new stars for new life.
The extension of the sunshield was a huge achievement for the scientists. But the scientists have also faced a few obstacles.
Flight controllers had reset the solar panel of the telescope to draw more power. Flight controllers also repointed the telescope as they have to limit sunlight on six overheating motors. After this, the motors have cooled enough to begin securing the sunshield. This has taken total three days.
The process has taken place without any drama. The telescope has a gold-plated mirror which 21 feet long.
Scientists are assuming the telescope will reach its destination in the end of this month. The telescope will begin its observation of the universe in the end of June. It will reveal secrets behind the formation of first stars and galaxies which was formed 13.7 billion years ago.
Webb is more powerful
The Hubble telescope was launched in 1990 and this telescope has told us secrets of the universe which were 13.4 billion years old. Scientists are assuming Webb will tell us more details of the origin of the universe as it is much more powerful.
The scientists also think Webb will last beyond the anticipated 10 years based on its fuel efficiency.