The Webb Telescope suffered the impact of a small portion of the asteroid

Image for the article titled The Webb Telescope was hit by a small asteroid shrapnel

Clarification: NASA GSFC / CIL / Adriana Manrique Gutierrez

NASA announced today that one of the main mirror parts of the Webb Space Telescope was hit by a micrometer, a small portion of the asteroid, between May 23-25. Initial evaluations of the telescope have been found That the spacecraft is still performing very well, although the effects of the collision are observed On recent data readings.

Micrometeoroids are extremely small (dust-sized) space debris that moves quickly. It’s a regular part of a hostile space environment that will bombard the Webb Telescope throughout its years of operation..

“As Webb’s mirrors exposed into space, we expected that the accidental effects from Micrometeorites “It will degrade the performance of the telescope over time,” said Lee Feinberg, president. Elements of NASA’s Webb Optical Telescope, in A Release from the agency. Since launch, we’ve received four results from Micrometeorites The smaller scales that were in line with expectations, This latest is greater than we assumed from the deterioration predictions.”

The Webb arrived at L2, his observation point in space, late from january. L2 1.5 million km From Earth, but this does not mean that the telescope is floating in empty space. Instead, the telescope is located in a dynamic part of the solar system With lots of hostile space weather. In addition to micro-meteoroids, there are cosmic rays, charged solar winds, and ultraviolet rays. everybody It can cause damage to space ships.

Fortunately, Paul Geithner, NASA deputy technical director for projects, said in the statement, “We designed and built Webb with a margin of performance (optical, thermal, electrical, mechanical) to ensure that he is able to carry out his ambitious scientific mission even after many years in outer space“.

mirrors Maybe Web The basic component of the 10,000 . spacecraft Millions of dollars. mirrors Focus on the light of the universe, let Webb gets images of everything from nearby exoplanets to the oldest sources of light in the universe. After the telescope arrives At L2, the mirror went through a long alignment period; early Mayand scholars from Webb said the alignment of the mirrors was perfect.

When the building was built Webb, engineers designed mirrors to manage The Micrometeorites such as the one that recently impacted one of the parts. The telescope can adjust the positions of its mirrors to correct and reduce the effects of micro-meteorites Collisions can occur on telescope images.

And theBigger winds, like meteor showersa major nuisance, but the telescope can be pointed away from those Events to protect your optical equipment, according to the statement from Container. The team, therefore Webb seems well prepared for the space conditions in L2.

The first full-color images from the telescope Waiting for July 12; Although NASA has not announced what will be captured Web, we know the pictures will come out One of the main scientific objectives of the telescope. A couple of small, dusty meteorites on ancient mirrors won’t stop the iconic telescope from beginning science operations this summer.

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