Engineers to make changes to James Webb Space Telescope observation plans

(ORDO NEWS) — The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has not yet celebrated its anniversary since its launch, and 14 micrometeoroids (small particles of matter ranging in size from 10 microns to 2 mm) have already made collisions with its golden mirror in recent months.

Although the observatory’s images continue to amaze with their perfection, the engineers decided to adjust the operation of the telescope so that it spends as much time as possible in the so-called “micrometeoroid avoidance zone.”

“Micrometeoroids that collide with the mirror have twice the relative speed and four times the kinetic energy, so avoiding this direction when possible will help extend the telescope’s optical equipment for decades,” said NASA specialist Lee Feinberg.

The James Webb is unusually vulnerable because its mirror is huge and directly facing outer space – unlike, for example, the mirror of the Hubble Space Telescope, which is smaller and covered with a protective cover.

After analyzing the May incident, when the telescope suffered the most damage, experts outlined a “micrometeoroid avoidance zone.”

However, changes in observations and transferring them to another time of the year, when the threat of micrometeoroids is lower, will complicate the use of the space observatory by scientists.


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