The United States space agency, NASA, has reported that it has concluded the Webb telescope deployment once the extension of the second honeycomb-shaped mirror module has been completed.
“The last wing is now deployed”, NASA has reported through Twitter, thus ending a process that began with the launch of the telescope into space two weeks ago.
From now on there are five months of alignment and calibration of the telescope instruments before it begins to transmit the first readings and images.
It was releasing on December 25
The Webb space telescope fIt was launched on December 25 from the European spaceport of Kourou in French Guiana, aboard an Ariane 5 rocket.
It is a joint mission by NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency to put into space the largest off-Earth observatory ever built, with a launch mass of 6.2 tons.
De Webb is expected to solve mysteries in our solar system, take a closer look at distant worlds around other stars, and explore the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it.
The telescope observe infrared light with unprecedented sensitivity, which will allow you to look back in time about 13.5 billion years to see the first galaxies after the Big Bang.
Among its main technical characteristics we must highlight the primary mirror -composed of 18 hexagonal segments that combined create a mirror with a diameter of 6.5 meters, compared to 2.4 meters in Hubble-, the parasol and four scientific instruments between cameras and spectrographs.
The telescope will be deployed in space near the Earth-Sun Lagrangian point L2, 1.5 million kilometers from Earth. Its destiny is that because, balanced between the gravitational forces of the Sun and earth it will maintain the same orientation with respect to both, and calibration and shielding are easier.
Webb will be protected by a large parasol made of five Kapton blades coated with aluminum and silicone that will keep the mirror and its four main scientific instruments at temperatures close to absolute zero.
Unlike Hubble, which observes in the near ultraviolet, visible and near infrared spectra, Webb will look in long-wavelength (orange to red) visible light through the mid-infrared range. This gives it a hundred times more sensitivity.
This will allow a wide range of investigations across many subfields of astronomy, observing and studying the earliest stars, from the time of reionization, formation of the first galaxies, take pictures of molecular clouds, stela formation clustersr, as well as high redshift objects too old and distant to be observed by Hubble and earlier telescopes.
In development since 1996, initially It was named the Next Generation Space Telescope or NGST, until in 2002 it was named James E. Webb, in honor of the one who was NASA administrator between 1961 and 1968. The project, whose purpose is to take over from the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes, has suffered a five-year delay in launch and its final cost is around 10 billion dollars.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.