NASA took a big step on Saturday after the successful deployment of its James Webb telescope in space, the agency said.
The risky manoeuver, which NASA has never performed before, marked the last stage of the telescope’s 50 major deployments. NASA teams remotely opened the machine days after its launched.
The 21-foot instrument was launched into the sky from French Guiana on 25th Dec,2021. Astronomers expect James Webb Telescope to fill a mysterious gap in historical record of our universe’s – the first 400 million years after Big Bang & identify distant planets that could host life.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a press release: “Today NASA has reached another technical milestone in decades. While the journey is still ongoing, I join Webb’s team to take a little easier breath & imagine future breakthroughs destined to inspire the world. “
He added, “James Webb Space Telescope is an unprecedented mission that is on precipice of seeing light from first galaxies & uncover the mysteries of our universe.
The telescope, which is 100x more powerful than its predecessor, Hubble Space Telescope, cost $10 billion & was developed in collaboration with the European Space Agency & the Canadian Space Agency.
Deploying James Telescope was a complicated proposition. James Webb Telescope has 2 main components: a hexagonal mirror made up of 18 gold coated segments, & a tennis court-sized sunshield, which deflects sunlight to keep the telescope cool. Both were too big to fit in a rocket, so NASA folded them like a drop leaf table.
Successful completion means that it will take about 4 months for the telescope to align & focus its mirrors. Next, the observatory will calibrate its scientific instruments: 4 cameras & spectrographs designed to observe universe in different wavelengths of infrared light.