James Webb Space Telescope irreversibly damaged

(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists report damage to the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) caused by a micrometeorite impact in late May 2022 may be more severe than previously thought.

A team of scientists assessed the performance of the space telescope during its commissioning phase in a new report published last week following the first amazing photos of the telescope.

They reported issues that “cannot be fixed” as well as “small impact on telescope throughput that is not yet measurable.”

The JWST life expectancy report states: “Currently, the biggest source of uncertainty is the long-term effects of micrometeor impacts that are slowly destroying the primary mirror.”

As mentioned earlier, the main 6.5-meter Webb mirror consists of 18 segments of beryllium gold. Fine dust particles fell into one of them, designated C3, between May 23 and 25, 2022.

Since launch, Webb has been impacted by five other smaller micrometeorites.

Following the impact, NASA Science Mission Directorate Deputy Administrator Thomas Zurbuchen tweeted: “After initial evaluations, the team found that the telescope is still operating at a level that exceeds all mission requirements.”

However, current research indicates that damage to section C3 may be more severe than previously thought.

The engineers who designed the telescope know that its mirrors and sun visor will eventually erode due to micrometeor impacts, even though it may have enough fuel for 20 years.

It is also expected that charged particles will eventually damage Webb’s detectors, and that its sunshield and original five-layer insulation will deteriorate due to space weathering.


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