Middle East

Webb Telescope reaches final destination

Washington: According to NASA, the James Webb Space Telescope has arrived at a space parking lot one million miles away, one step closer to its mission to unravel the mysteries of space. Around 2 pm EST (1900 GMT), the observatory fired a thruster for 5 minutes to reach the so-called second Lagrange point (L2). Here you can always access nearly half of the sky.

Delicate burns added 1.6 meters per second to the overall speed of the web. This is just enough to bring it into a “halo” orbit around L2, 1.5 million kilometers from Earth. “Welcome back, Web!” NASA administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement. Webb will start its science mission by summer. This includes using high-resolution infrared equipment to trace the first-generation galaxies formed after the Big Bang back 13.5 billion years.

L2 aligns with the Earth as it travels around the Sun, allowing Webb’s shade-sensitive equipment to protect against heat and light. In order for a giant parasol to provide effective protection, the sun, earth, and moon must all be in the same direction and the cold side must be operating at -225 degrees Celsius. The thruster launch, known as orbital combustion, was the third such maneuver since the web was launched on the Ariane 5 rocket on December 25.

The plan was intentional. Because if Webb gets too much thrust from a rocket, it exposes its optics to the sun, overheating and destroying it, so it can’t turn around and return to Earth. Therefore, we decided to slightly underburn the launch of the rocket and use the telescope’s unique thruster to make up for the difference.

The test run manager at Keith Parish Webb Observatory called reporters and told reporters that the burns were so successful that Webb could easily exceed the planned minimum lifespan of five years. “In about 20 years, I think it’s probably a good stadium, but we’re trying to refine it,” he said. Future missions may go there and refuel, but it is not expected. Expected to cost nearly $ 10 billion to NASA, the Webb is one of the most expensive scientific platforms ever built, comparable to CERN’s Large Hadron Collider and its predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope.

But while Hubble orbits the Earth, Webb orbits an area of ​​space called the Lagrange point. There, the gravitational forces from the sun and the earth are balanced by the centrifugal force of the rotating system. Objects at one of these five points, first theorized by the Italian French mathematician Joseph-Louis Lagrange, remain stable, do not fall into the gravity wells of the Sun and Earth, and are slight to adjust. Only fuel is needed.
Instead of sitting exactly at L2, Webb orbits around it in a “hello” at a distance similar to the distance between the Earth and the Moon, completing the cycle every six months. This allows the telescope to remain thermally stable and generate power from the solar panels. Previous missions to L2 include the European Space Agency’s Herschel and Planck Observatory, and NASA’s Wilkinson microwave anisotropic probe.

Webb’s position also enables continuous communication with the Earth via the Deep Space Network, three large antennas in Australia, Spain and California. Earlier this month, NASA completed the process of deploying Webb’s giant golden mirror, which collects infrared signals from the first stars and galaxies formed hundreds of millions of years after the universe began to expand.

Visible and ultraviolet light emitted from the first luminescent object is stretched by the expansion of the universe and arrives today in the form of infrared light that Webb is equipped to detect with unprecedented clarity. Its mission also includes research to determine the origin, evolution, and habitability of distant planets known as exoplanets. The next steps include adjusting the telescope’s optical system and calibrating the scientific instrument. The first image will be sent in June or July. – AFP

https://www.kuwaittimes.com/webb-telescope-reaches-final-destination/ Webb Telescope reaches final destination

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