Space telescope's 'golden eye' opens, last major hurdle




  • In World
  • 2022-01-08 16:24:26Z
  • By Associated Press

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - NASA's new space telescope opened its huge, gold-plated, flower-shaped mirror Saturday, the final step in the observatory's dramatic unfurling.

The last portion of the 21-foot (6.5-meter) mirror swung into place at flight controllers' command, completing the unfolding of the James Webb Space Telescope.

"I'm emotional about it. What an amazing milestone. We see that beautiful pattern out there in the sky now," said Thomas Zurbuchen, chief of NASA's science missions.

More powerful than the Hubble Space Telescope, the $10 billion Webb will scan the cosmos for light streaming from the first stars and galaxies formed 13.7 billion years ago. To accomplish this, NASA had to outfit Webb with the largest and most sensitive mirror ever launched - its "golden eye," as scientists call it.

Webb is so big that it had to be folded orgami-style to fit in the rocket that soared from South America two weeks ago. The riskiest operation occurred earlier in the week, when the tennis court-size sunshield unfurled, providing subzero shade for the mirror and infrared detectors.

Flight controllers in Baltimore began opening the primary mirror Friday, unfolding the left side like a drop-leaf table. The mood was even more upbeat Saturday, with peppy music filling the control room as the right side snapped into place. After applauding, the controllers immediately got back to work, latching everything down. They jumped to their feet and cheered when the operation was finally complete two hours later.

"We have a deployed telescope on orbit, a magnificent telescope the likes of which the world has never seen," Zurbuchen said, congratulating the team. "So how does it feel to make history, everybody? You just did it."

His counterpart at the European Space Agency, astronomer Antonella Nota, noted that after years of preparation, the team made everything look "so amazingly easy."

"This is the moment we have been waiting for, for so long," she said.

Webb's main mirror is made of beryllium, a lightweight yet sturdy and cold-resistant metal. Each of its 18 segments is coated with an ultra thin layer of gold, highly reflective of infrared light. The hexagonal, coffee table-size segments must be adjusted in the days and weeks ahead so they can focus as one on stars, galaxies and alien worlds that might hold atmospheric signs of life.

Webb should reach its destination 1 million miles (1.6 million kilometers) away in another two weeks; it's already more than 667,000 miles (1 million kilometers) from Earth since its Christmas Day launch. If all continues to go well, science observations will begin this summer. Astronomers hope to peer back to within 100 million years of the universe-forming Big Bang, closer than Hubble has achieved.

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Boeing Starliner capsule sets off after space station
Boeing Starliner capsule sets off after space station

Grounded earlier by software bugs and corroded valves, Boeing says the Starliner is finally ready for flight.

NASA, Partners to Host CAPSTONE Prelaunch Media Teleconference
NASA, Partners to Host CAPSTONE Prelaunch Media Teleconference

NASA, Partners to Host CAPSTONE Prelaunch Media TeleconferencePR NewswireWASHINGTON, May 19, 2022WASHINGTON , May 19, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- NASA will host a...

Watch Boeing launch its Starliner spaceship for NASA on a do-over flight to the International Space Station
Watch Boeing launch its Starliner spaceship for NASA on a do-over flight to the International Space Station

NASA needs Boeing's Starliner spaceship to transport astronauts, but first the company has to fly it without errors. Last time it failed.

Watch NASA launch Boeing
Watch NASA launch Boeing's Starliner space taxi on second test mission aiming for space station

Two and a half years after an initial orbital flight test fell short, Boeing will try, try again to put its CST-100 Starliner space capsule through an...

Boeing is making a third attempt at reaching the International Space Station
Boeing is making a third attempt at reaching the International Space Station

Boeing is set to launch its Starliner space capsule to the International Space Station on Thursday in a crucial NASA test.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

  • Clintonhax
    (2022-02-11 00:05:39Z)

    I got what you mean , thankyou for posting.Woh I am delighted to find this website through google. “Success is dependent on effort.” by Sophocles.

    REPLY
  • Clintonhax
    (2022-03-30 19:17:31Z)

    Having read this I thought it was very enlightening. I appreciate you finding the time and energy to put this information together. I once again find myself personally spending a significant amount of time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile! [url=http://primorskival.si/includes/pages/casino_promozioni_e_bonus_di_benvenuto.html]primorskival.si[/url]

    REPLY
  • Clintonhax
    (2022-03-31 11:56:45Z)

    Wow! This blog looks exactly like my old one! It’s on a totally different subject but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Excellent choice of colors! [url=http://arenafan.com/ads/list/?slot_machine_gratis.html]arenafan.com[/url]

    REPLY
  • LohPetuh
    (2022-04-01 21:00:09Z)

    After I serve daddy’s left one, I was about to move to the right foot. While He stopped me, stood up, and walked towards the couch, he said “Crawling right after me.” I followed daddy. My nose was where daddy’s ass was. I was staring at that crotch while I was crawling, and I didn’t realize daddy stopped one of a sudden in front of the bathroom. My nose is slightly right into that dreaming ass crack.

    [url=https://taxi-avtosfera.ru/]young boys[/url]

    REPLY
  • pidorMooma
    (2022-04-01 21:40:32Z)

    “Last I measured, I was nearly eight inches, dad. Maybe more. I may be even bigger, who knows.” He answers nonchalantly.

    [url=https://taxi-avtosfera.ru/]gay anime[/url]

    REPLY
  • pidorMooma
    (2022-04-02 09:51:28Z)

    Garrett picks up the pee-stained and cum-leaked jock from the tile floor.

    [url=https://taxi-avtosfera.ru/]assfucking[/url]

    REPLY

Top News: World