These are exciting times for astronomy lovers. Not only are missions underway on Mars and the Moon that will bring new information. The launch of the most powerful telescope in history is also big news. At last, the James Webb telescope is fully deployed.
It is a new milestone on its way to writing history. It has completed its deployment just over two weeks after being launched.
And that is because on January 8, the telescope opened the second of its two wings mirror. It signals the end of its full deployment. The best part is that it can be seen on video. It has been displayed by mission operations control, located in Baltimore. It is an animation based on telemetry sent by the telescope’s sensors in real time.
Prior to this, the telescope performed a sequence of some complex operations. These included the deployment of its solar shield. This reaches the size of a tennis court. It consists of five extremely thin layers of kapton coated with aluminum. This protects the sensitive parts of the telescope from the heat generated by the sun’s rays.
Looking in infrared
Now, the James Webb telescope was fully deployed. It was created by NASA in cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA). The Canadian Space Agency also collaborated. Its development took about 20 years. In five more years they did all the necessary tests before launching it into space. Its total cost amounts to about 10 billion dollars.
what is the difference with its predecessor, the celebrated Hubble? The James Webb will make observations in the infrared spectrum. It can look deeper into the universe and make never-before-seen findings.